Magazine article Tate Etc.

JMW Turner's the Fall of Anarchy C1833-4

Magazine article Tate Etc.

JMW Turner's the Fall of Anarchy C1833-4

Article excerpt

Paul Kingsnorth on JMW Turner's The Fall of Anarchy C1833-4

It is a dream, a vision, a night terror; an unasked-for inspiration, a gift or a curse, given and taken down. A glimpse into the abyss or through the veil. The sky is on fire, white light battles with red and Death comes on a pale horse. But what is this? Death himself is dead, or dying. Slumped over his saddle, his head flung back. Look at that head. Turn the image upside down and look at the face. Is this Death? It is strangely calm. The mouth does not hang open, but is set in a line, neither smiling nor frowning. The face is long and angular, noble, long-suffering - sympathetic. Keep looking. It is not a skull at all, is it? Are those eyes in the sockets: faint, looking back to the left, to where the horse has come from? Is that a shock of black hair? It is a woman, isn't it? A woman wearing a crown: a ring of gold mocking her rotten body. …

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