Cologne: Colour Study

watercolor of city view from river with black objects at center

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851)
Cologne: Colour Study, ca. 1824–32
Watercolor on paper
10 9/16 x 16 1/16 in. (26.8 x 40.8 cm)
Tate; Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
© Tate, London 2016

Turner captures in a few brushstrokes Cologne’s skyline as seen from Deutz, the small town on the opposite bank of the river. The diagonal line of dark brushstrokes cutting across the water suggests the floating bridge (wooden planks across a row of pontoons) that was introduced in 1822 to connect the two cities. Among the many church towers that punctuate Cologne’s skyline, the spire of Gross St. Martin — which would later serve as the focal point of Turner’s oil — rises above the others.

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