Last post I wrote about going to Canberra. The impetus for the trip was to go to the exhibition “Turner from the Tate”.
J.M.W. Turner (1775 – 1851) was a sensational painter. Even today many of his works are cutting edge; the impact of them in the 1800’s was forceful. I am currently reading about him, and may well write some more in a later post. (I am the living example of ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’!) If you are unfamiliar with him as an artist, have a look at the link above.
The exhibition showed Turner’s work over his life. His early works didn’t do much for me. However I loved his watercolours, and it is those paintings that I want to show you today. I will show you his oils in the next post.
Before I do, a couple of words about my photos — they are not very good!! Foolishly I didn’t take the charger for my camera’s battery. Of course, as soon as I got to the gallery the warning light started flashing. The battery lasted, but I didn’t feel confident about changing settings as I went. Consequently they are too yellow, and some are down-right crooked. Of course, they would have been perfect otherwise! (Or maybe not!) And I did have permission to take them.
According to the catalogue, in the 1810’s Turner began to plan out his watercolour images as blocks, or bands of colour, or ‘colour beginnings’. Some are preparations for specific works, but others are experiments with different effects of light or atmosphere. The following are four photos of such works.
Turner was a master of watercolour, using the medium in ways that had not been used before. He wanted to give his watercolour work equal prominence with his oils. This painting is large.
The following paintings show some of Turner’s fascinations — for the sea, for Venice, for mountains. But his paintings, no matter whether oils or watercolour, always show his love of light and atmosphere. (And sorry, I don’t seem to have recorded the titles of some of these.)
I was so delighted to see this last painting. It comes from the National Gallery of Victoria, so it was like meeting up with a favourite someone you haven’t seen for a long time. We are very lucky to have such a masterpiece in our state collection.