JMW Turner is one of Britain’s leading painters of landscape. The National Maritime Museum is holding up untill the 21st of April, a special exhibition which celebrates his lifelong fascination with the sea, bringing together an outstanding collection of masterpieces from around the world.
The exhibition is divided into 8 rooms. The first shows some of his early works, which established him as a leading role in the generation of British artists of his generation painter. The Shipwreck (exhibited in 1805), focusing on the daily threat of sea reflects Turner’s fascination by the destructive power of the sea.
When the artist entered the Royal Academy in London in 1789, marine painting had a great historical prestige. Turner studied the art of French and Dutch artists, responding with new and unexpected directions. The second room contains some of the works that influenced him as The beach at Scheveningen (1633), by the artist Simon de Vlieger, whose calm and wide open skies provided to Turner a model of description. It highlights the first oil painting that the artist exhibited, Fishermen at Sea (1796), which shows a reflection of the art of the past while insisting on a contemporary relevance.
The third space exhibits some of his work on paper. Working with watercolors allowed him to explore the sea in different ways. The Liber Studiorum or Book Studies is an ambitious project that was intended to become a bold manifesto for the British landscape art.
The Battle of Trafalgar has been for many artists subject of representation. While some focused on the violence of war, others reflected on the British victory. In room 4 is The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805 (1823-24), the largest marine paint and melodramatic by Turner, reflecting different moments during the action.
In 1820 a new generation of painters emerged in England, who often followed the example of Turner, emulating his style of painting. The artist replied, taking his work in a new direction. The fifth room collects Now for the painter (rope). Passangers going on board (1827), which reflects a bright and colorful style.
Room 6 shows how the sea stood at the center of Turner’s work until the end of his days. The Fighting Temeraire, tugged to her last Berth to the broken up, 1838 (1839), at once nostalgic and patriotic, is one of his most popular works. Thus, the seventh space exhibits some of the sketchbooks that always accompanied him on his travels.
Finally, room 8 shows the artist’s interest in capturing the effects of breaking waves at sea. Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbours Mouth (1842) expresses the power of nature.
An exhibition that gathers some of his most famous seascapes and explores the works of those who inspired and influenced him.