Mont-St.-Michel, Normandy

watercolor of calvary moving towards castle in center of dark, ominous clouds

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851)
Mont-St.-Michel, Normandy​, ca. 1827
For The English Channel
Watercolor on paper
7 x 10 1/16 in. (17.8 x 25.6 cm)
The Hecksher Family Collection
Image courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Photo Randy Dodson

The light emitted by the moon and torches in this imaginative night view of Mont-St.-Michel creates an eerie glow that contrasts with the luminous sheets of the other two works from The English Channel series in the show — Le Havre and The Jute. In the foreground, beneath the looming architecture of the medieval abbey, French officers arrest smugglers on the flat sands exposed by the low tide.

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