JMW Turner ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ

Self-portrait, by JMW Turner, 1799

Born in 1775, Joseph Mallord Wiliam Turner is the most significant and innovative English painter of his age. His evocative landscapes and marine paintings are amongst the most iconic of the Romantic period.

At Tate Britain one can enjoy the largest collection of paintings and other artworks by JMW Turner, as the painter left a bequest to the United Kingdom of his huge private collection, now exhibited at the Close Gallery of the London museum. Visitors can get a comprehensive idea of Turner and his contemporaries’ art.

At the beginning of his artistic career a young Turner painted this early self-portrait. Probably prepared to mark his election as an associate of the Royal Academy, this portrait showcases already a very skilled and talented artist, despite his young age.

Norham Castle, oil painting, by JMW Turner, 1845
Norham Castle, watercolour, by JMW Turner, 1799

The subject of this ruined castle in the North of England had been part of a fascination by the painter since his first visits to the region. In this representation he seems to be much more interested in creating an atmosphere, at a specific time of the day, rather than any specific detail of the subject and the surrounding landscape.

It may be interesting to draw a comparison with the early watercolour depicting the very same subject some fifty years earlier than the oil painting, when the painter was 23, around the time of one of Turner’s first visits to Northumberland, where Norham Castle is located. The early self-portrait above was contemporary to the watercolour and portrays the painters in his early twenties.

Breakers on a Flat Beach, by JMW Turner, 1845

The English coast was a great source of inspiration for Turner, who spent quite some time in Margate, for example, to get exposed to the roughness of the North Sea and its turbulent seascapes.

The last years of Turner’s life were quite hard and the painter died in 1851 at the age of 76, leaving his large private collection to the nation. This also included some unfinished paintings that provide an insight into the artistic process followed by the painter for his creations. Turner is buried in St Paul’s Cathedral, next to another great British painter, Joshua Rey nolds.

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