Bad Dudes Essay Research Paper TURNERJoseph Mallord

Bad Dudes Essay, Research Paper


Joseph Mallord William Turner, the son of a barber and wigmaker, was born in London in 1775. As a child Turner made money by colouring engravings for his father’s customers. At the age of 14 he entered the Royal Academy. He exhibited his first drawing, A View of the Archbishop’s Palace in Lambeth in 1790. Two years later he providing illustrations for the Copperplate Magazine and the Pocket Magazine.

In 1792 Turner went on his first sketching tour. Most of his pictures during this period were cathedrals, abbeys, bridges and towns but in 1796 he became interested in painting pictures of the sea. He also began touring with his artist friend, Thomas Girton.

By 1800 Turner was acknowledged as one of Britain’s leading topographical watercolorist. He received several commissions to illustrate books. His artistic ability was recognized when he was elected an associate of the Royal Academy.

In 1803 Turner’s style changed. His impressionistic Calais Pier was criticized as being unfinished. For the next few years the critics attacked him and he had difficulty selling his paintings. One critic called Turner’s landscapes “pictures of nothing, and very alike.” Turner had his supporters, including John Ruskin, who described his paintings as “true, beautiful and intellectual”.

In 1844 Turner turned his attention to railways and painted Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway. J. M. W. Turner died at his cottage in Chelsea in 1851. He left some three hundred paintings and nineteen thousand watercolors to the nation.

Joseph Mallord William Turner enjoys a reputation as one of the finest landscape painters in English history. The son of a London barber, Turner was born on April 23, 1775. His mother died when he was still young, and young Joseph received only the most rudimentary of education from his father.

From early childhood, Turner poured his energies into drawing, and later painting. By the age of 13, he was exhibiting paintings in the window of his father’s barbershop. The child prodigy was rewarded when one of his paintings was shown at the Royal Academy – a remarkable honor for a lad of just 15! At 18 Turner established his own studio, and he was made a full member of the Royal Academy in 1802.

Turner’s artistic education continued during extended travels abroad. He was captivated by the seascapes of Venice, and devoted his energies to capturing the changing patterns of light and colour on the water.

Although Turner worked extensively in oils, it is as a watercolourist that he is famous. He can be rightly regarded as one of the founding fathers of English watercolour landscape painting.

One of Turner’s unique qualities is that he did not attempt to reproduce what he saw, but rather he tried to paint what he felt about a scene. In this he can be considered an early “Impressionist” painter. His best works exhibit a glorious, hazy wash of light, with shapes merely suggested through the light.

Despite popular acceptance of his work, Turner was a reclusive man, with few friends. He always worked alone and travelled alone. He would exhibit his paintings, but he often refused to sell them. When he did sell a work, he plunged into depression.

The Junction of the Thames and the Medway, 1807. JMW Turner died on December 19, 1851, and at his own request he was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral. His remarkable collection of over 300 paintings, 20,000 watercolors, and 19,000 drawings were bequeathed to the nation. The Clore Gallery at the Tate Gallery was opened in 1987 to display this collection, according to the terms of his will.

Some of his most enduring works are Burial at Sea, and The Grand Canal, Venice.

Turner, who earned an early reputation for producing accurate topographical views, opened his own private sales gallery, where he exhibited this turbulent seascape. Based on notes in the artist’s sketchbooks, the scene is the wide mouth of the Thames joining the North Sea, where the smaller River Medway further churns the waves. To the south, the town on the far shore is the seaport of Sheerness.

To heighten the storm’s impact, Turner artfully manipulated the lighting in this composition. The sails at the right, for instance, are brilliantly silhouetted against the dark clouds. In actuality, however, the sun is obscured high in the sky behind the thunderheads, making it impossible for sunbeams to strike those ships from the side.

Rotterdam Ferry-Boat, 1833. This seascape was exhibited in 1833 at the Royal Academy, where Turner taught as the professor of perspective. Conquering the problem of creating a believable sense of space across a featureless expanse of water, Turner anchored the carefully aligned design upon a small passenger ferry. From this foreground focus, a row of larger ships moves backward over the choppy waves on a diagonal line, generating a remarkable illusion of depth. The warship’s Dutch flags and the skyline of Rotterdam pay tribute to Turner’s predecessors, the marine painters of seventeenth-century Holland. In particular, the low horizon and cloud-swept vista derive from harbor scenes by Jan van Goven and Aelbert Cuyp.

Venice: The Dogana and San Giorgio Maggiore, 1834. At the “especial suggestion” of a British textile manufacturer, Turner devised this Venetian cityscape as a symbolic salute to commerce. Gondolas carry cargoes of fine fabrics and exotic spices. On the right is the Dogana, or Customs House, topped by a statue of Fortune, which Turner greatly enlarged in size. Moreover, the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore has been pushed very far back in space, making the Grand Canal seem much wider than it really is.

These theatrical exaggerations and the precise, linear drafting of the architecture owe much to Canaletto, an eighteenth-century Venetian painter whose art glorified his city. At the 1834 Royal Academy show, critics gave enraptured praise to the scene’s radiant, sparkling waters. The next year, another commission from the same patron resulted in its moonlit companion piece, Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight.

Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight, 1835. On England’s River Tyne, near the mining city of Newcastle, stevedores called keelmen transfer coal from barges, or keels, to oceangoing vessels. The harsh glare of the workmen’s torches contrasts with the funnel of creamy light emanating from the moon. Critical opinion about Turner’s unusual nocturne was divided. One reviewer observed: “It represents neither night nor day, and yet the general effect is very agreeable and surprising.”

Commissioned as a pendant to Venice: The Dogana and San Giorgio Maggiore and shown at the Royal Academy in 1835, this canvas creates a total counterpoint in mood and meaning. The Venetian scene is far away in the Mediterranean Sea, concerns luxury goods, and glows with warm daylight. This North Sea view — a familiar sight to the British public — reveals sooty, modern industry chilled by the colors of a winter’s night.

The Dogana and Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, 1843. Displayed at the Royal Academy in 1843, Turner’s late view of Venice shows the Customs House, or Dogana, from an angle opposite to that seen in his 1834 picture. Behind the Dogana, the domes of the Church of Santa Maria della Salute rise against the vibrantly luminous sky. Although his early works had made Turner wealthy and famous, this later style — in which light evaporates the solid forms — was far too avant-garde for his contemporaries to comprehend. In retrospect, however, it is such late works that had the most impact upon subsequent landscapists. (The parapet at the bottom right is formally inscribed with Turner’s full initials, JMWT; informally, friends called him Bill.)

Houses of Parliament, 1834. A mixture of old and newer buildings on the north bank of the River Thames. The fire of 1834 burned down most of the Palace of Westminster. The only part still remaining from 1097 is Westminster Hall. The buildings replacing the destroyed elements include Big Ben, with it’s four 23 feet clock faces, built in a rich late gothic style that now form the Houses of Commons and the House of Lords.

Rain, Steam, and Speed The Great Western Railway, 1844. The scene is fairly certainly identifiable as Maidenhead railway bridge, which spans the Thames between Taplow and Maidenhead. The bridge, designed by the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and completed in 1839, has two main arches of brick, very wide and flat. The view is to the east, towards London.

On the left people are boating on the river, while to the right a ploughman works on a field. The tranquility of these traditional activities contrasts with the steam train rushing towards the viewer, the stark outline of its black funnel clearly visible. In front of the train a hare, one of the speediest of animals, dashes for cover.

Turner’s picture can be associated with the ‘railway mania’ which swept across England in the 1840s. It is also an outstanding example of his late style of painting. Sky and river landscape are dissolved in a haze of freely applied oil paint, to give a striking impression of the contrasting movement of driving rain and speeding train.

Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth, 1842. This is perhaps Turner’s finest seascape, and indeed possibly the greatest depiction of a storm in all art. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in I842. Turner once claimed that in order to paint this scene he had `got the sailors to lash me to the mast to observe it; I was lashed for four hours, and I did not expect to escape, but I felt bound to record it if I did’. However, possibly he fabricated this story, for it is similar to one told of the marine painter Joseph Vernet, and no ship named the Ariel is known to have sailed from Harwich in the years leading up to I842; perhaps the title of the vessel was intended to allude to Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Nor does the picture-title accord fully with what we actually see, for the ship is `going by the lead’, which denotes that a weighted line is being periodically dropped from the bow to gauge the shallowness of the waters so as to prevent the ship from running aground. Yet such a prudent, measured precaution seems to be at odds with the actual predicament of a vessel caught up in a maelstrom, even if we can appreciate why the boat should be firing signal rockets to denote her position offshore.

Yet even if some or all of Turner’s factual claims are false, and there seems to be some disparity between the nautical behavior indicated in the title and what appears to be actually happening to the Ariel, the veracity of Turner’s communication of what it is like to be at the centre of a cataclysmic storm is beyond dispute, with the entire visible universe wheeling in a massive vortex around both the steamer and also the spectator. (And on the steamer, incidentally, we can see that its foremast and funnel are located in the correct positions, which again indicates that Turner had purposefully taken liberties with literal reality in The Fighting Temeraire of three years earlier.) Turner was very vexed by reading a criticism of this work that it represents a mass of `soapsuds and whitewash’, and was overheard to say+ `soapsuds and whitewash! What would they have? I wonder what they think the sea’s like? I wish they’d been in it.’ But today it is easier to appreciate that his freedom of handling imparts the raw energy of a storm far more authentically than if he had painted even’ drop of rain or every wave in the sea with greater degrees of verisimilitude.

Ruskin’s opinion of this painting is that this is the grandest statement of sea motion, mist and light that has ever been put on canvas.

Snowstorm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps, 1842. Was the first picture with which Turner printed lines of poetry in the catalogue with a credit to an ‘MS’ poems ‘Fallacies of Hope’.

Turner’s pictures were becoming arranged, compositionally, around ‘vortexes’, in which the picture emanates from a central structure in a series of sweeps, as above for example. He also experimented with new forms, such as squares and octagons. His was always a deliberate in development. The painting reveals the extent to which Turner sees the style of the brushwork itself as a factor of the impact of the painting.

Rise of The Carthaginian Empire, 1815. Turner so loved this painting, that he requested his body be wrapped in the canvas upon his death. Turner s executer of his will Francis Chantry pointed out to Turner that as soon as you are buried I will see you taken up and unrolled. The will was altered the painting now hangs in the National Gallery, London. By request from Turner, it’s now next to a seaport view by Claude in the wonderful room 15.

Thomas Girtin, (1775-1802), English watercolorist, whose professional and artistic innovations gave birth to the individual English Romantic manner in watercolour. Turner and Girtin meet at Thomas Maltons’s home where they were both copying and coloring from the vast Alexander Cozen collection in Malton’s possession. This was the way of learning to paint from the old masters. The two young men aged 14 became best friends, and were soon to travel around England together sketching and painting. Both artist developing into what was to be known as Romantic Art, They convey a unique sense of the extent and scale of the English countryside. Their naturalistic style and sympathy to mood prepared the way for the full-scale Romanticism in art.

Royal Academy of Arts, London, Great Britain’s principal art organization, established for the purpose of improving and encouraging painting, sculpture, and architecture. It was founded in 1768 by George III in response to a memorial presented by 22 artists, among them the British architect Sir William Chambers and the American painter Benjamin West. Sir Joshua Reynolds was its first president. Turner was acting President for a time. The number of Royal Academicians is usually 80. The first permanent rooms of the Royal Academy were in the royal palace, Old Somerset House, in 1771. The society moved into New Somerset House in 1780 and then to the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, in 1837. In 1869 the society moved to its current location in Burlington House, Piccadilly.

Over a 1000 works of art are shown at the annual Summer Exhibition, at which members may exhibit six works and nonmembers may exhibit three. Loan exhibitions are mounted by the academy every year, and other exhibitions also take place under its patronage. The permanent collection of the academy contains many valuable works of art, including the Taddei Tondo by Michelangelo, as well as the diploma works of nearly all the Royal Academicians. The art schools of the academy are open to postgraduate students. The academy, which is under the direct patronage of the British monarch, is self-supporting, receiving the bulk of its funds from loan exhibitions.


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