Turner and the art of the seascape

The Slave Ship - J.M.W. Turner
The Slave Ship - J.M.W. Turner

J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) was one of the greatest English painters of land and sea, and far ahead of his time. Many of his works are so wrought with raw color and emotion as to be nearly abstract.

The ocean has always been a subject for artists, though I sometimes wonder how far we have come since the 19th Century. Are any painters still exploring nature with the kind of vision that Turner had? I don’t mean just showing the beauty of nature, but really trying to get to the heart of it, to discover new ways of seeing it.

Many seascapes today are happy depictions of sun-soaked waves and smiling dolphins, which is all well and good, but only shows one side of the teeming, turbulent, mysterious ocean. Turner seemed to be searching for something deeper, trying to discover something that no one had ever seen before. One hundred and fifty years later, his paintings are still remarkable.

Fishermen At Sea - J.M.W. Turner
The Shipwreck - J.M.W. Turner
The Shipwreck - J.M.W. Turner
Stormy Sea With Blazing Wreck - J.M.W. Turner
Shipwreck of the Minotaur - J.M.W. Turner
Waves Breaking Against The Wind - J.M.W. Turner
Waves Breaking Against The Wind - J.M.W. Turner
Sunrise With Sea Monsters - J.M.W. Turner
Sunrise With Sea Monsters - J.M.W. Turner

One thought on “Turner and the art of the seascape

  • October 5, 2010 at 2:52 pm
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    Thanks for turning me on to this painter. I think I could stare at “The Slave Ship” for hours.

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