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J.M.W. Turner – Obsessed with the Sun

August 9, 2017 – New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday by Jack Dziamba.

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Turner and the Sun

As this is August, the sun, hopefully, is foremost in people’s plans. A current exhibition depicts beautifully works by Turner in paint, and studies with wash and color, and crayon. The exhibition is open now and runs to October 15, 2017.

“Turner had a life long obsession with the sun. ” In the weeks prior to his death, J.M.W. Turner is said to have declared (to John Ruskin) ‘The Sun is God’ – what he meant by this, no-one really knows, but what is not in any doubt is the central role that the sun played in Turner’s lifelong obsession with light and how to paint it.”

The Giudecca Canal, Looking Towards Fusina at Sunset (1840, Tate), (above) gives visitors to Turner and the Sun a very rare chance to see a work created using pencil, watercolour and crayon.” (Art Daily).

From The Hampshire Cultural Institute website,

“This exhibition celebrates J.M.W. Turner as the undisputed master of light and focuses on his lifelong fascination with the sun. Witnessing the technicolour vibrancy of sunset, Turner explored the transformative effects of sunlight, and sought to replicate its life-giving energy in paint. Combining naturalistic observation with imaginative flights of fancy, his light-drenched landscapes remain as dazzling today as they were for a contemporary audience.”


Going to the Ball (San Martino), exhibited 1846, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775‑1851). Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. Photo ©Tate, London 2017

“The popularity of the Grand Tour and the enduring appeal of Venice created a lucrative and artistically important opportunity for Turner in his late career. In Going to the Ball (San Martino) (exhibited 1846, Tate), we see boats taking Venetian revellers to a masque ball against the backdrop of a golden cityscape. This was Turner’s last painting of Venice and was in his studio at the time of his death in 1851.” (Art Daily).

Fine Art in the New Media

The Lake, Petworth: Sunset, Fighting Bucks c.1829 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

The website for this exhibition at The Gallery, Winchester Discovery Centre , gives us the opportunity to view the two works above. Unfortunately, the remainder of the exhibition must be viewed in person.

However, googling “Turner the Gallery Winchester Discovery Center” does bring up other images, one of which is The Lake, Petworth, Sunset; Sample Study (c.1827-8, Tate), (above) and the haunting  Sun Setting over a Lake (below), and others.

Of course, we would like to see every institution making their entire exhibition online to fulfill the mission of making art available to everyone, everywhere.

Lake of Lucerne, Looking from Kussnacht towards the Bernese Alps; Mont Pilatus on the Right, Dark against the Sunset 1841 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851



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