Monday, April 14, 2014

Turner: mugs not nothing

Towards the end Turner's style changed yet again to an impressionist style. Swirling clouds, indistinct boats with a stream of smoke and merging sky and sea, as famously in this Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth.

It was very different from the early days and not everyone liked it.

Indeed William Hazlitt described Turner's experiments as "pictures of nothing" as if they were the 19th C. equivalent of Seinfeld.

Oh, how very wrong Hazlitt was.

Turner knew what he was doing, and, as posted earlier, he was an excellent sailor. Famously Turner is said to have himself "tied the mast of a ship in order to experience the drama" of the elements during a storm at sea.

When he went to see Fingals Cave at Staffa island it was so stormy several boats were unable to land - and you can feel the changeable waters and sky in the scene he captured of it:
I just loved this picture which is hanging at the end of the exhibition and spent ages staring at it.

To be honest quite a bit of that time was trying to answer which direction the boat is heading and why there was a red light on what looked like the starboard side (reflection I guess).

In fact I liked it so much I bought the official "Turner and the Sea" mug with this image wrapped around the outside.

Not nothing indeed.


Chris Partridge said...

Thanks for all these Turners, Cap'n. What an uplifting way to start the day...

JP said...

They are great aren't they?

Have you managed to visit the exhibition in Greenwich?