Description

The source of the river Arveiron in the Graian Alps deserves a whole chapter in the second volume of Horace-Bénédict de Saussure’s Voyages dans les Alpes (1786), published only a few years after Hackert’s print. Saussure refers to the view of the river flowing from the Glacier des Bois under an arch of ice as ‘a worthy object for the curiosity of travellers’. In 1781, the British artist Francis Towne (1739-1816) painted the same location on his return journey from Italy (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, inv. no. P.20-1921). Although it has been noted that the left side of Hackert’s view is not as topographically accurate, his depiction of the awe-inspiring scenery captures the impression it would make on the group of travellers in the foreground.  

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