Philipp Jakob Loutherbourg, An Avalanche in the Alps, 1803.
The Alps were a familiar landscape for generations of British travellers, but it was only in the later part of the eighteenth century that their rugged and immense qualities were appreciated for their sublime associations. Here de Loutherbourg, who specialised in such landscapes, adds human drama to the avalanche’s awesome progress via the terrified people (foreground) soon to be overwhelmed by nature’s power. De Loutherbourg’s exploration of sublime effect was assisted by his work as a theatre set designer. He also created the ‘Eidophusikon’, a miniature theatre where landscapes were animated and accompanied by music and sound effects.