Joseph Mallord William Turner
Keelmen heaving in coals by night, 1835
Washington, National Gallery of Art
Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba, 1648
London, National Gallery of Art
14 March – 5 June 2012
Source: National Gallery, London / theartwolf.com
The exhibition reveals how Turner’s life-long desire to absorb all he could from the Old Master lay at the heart of his work. From the Roman Campagna-inspired views of the Thames Valley to paintings of the emerging industrial landscape, "Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Night", 'Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude' demonstrates Turner’s skill at recreating gleaming light and atmosphere.
Joseph Mallord William Turner’s first experience of the work of Claude Lorrain had an immediate and lasting impact on the British artist. A contemporary remarked that ‘Turner was awkward, agitated and burst into tears’ on seeing Claude's "Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba" (1648, The National Gallery). The exhibition focuses on the major Claude-inspired themes that run through Turner’s career and that on occasion shocked and dazzled audiences of his day: the evocation of light and air in landscape, the effect of light upon water and his often radical reworking of contemporary scenes.
The importance of the sea to Britain’s identity is another crucial theme of Turner’s work and Claude’s harbour scenes exerted a powerful hold on his imagination, as shown in works including 'Le Havre: Sunset in the Port', (about 1832, Tate) and East Cowes, the Seat of J. Nash, Esq. (about 1827–30, Victoria and Albert Museum). The exhibition includes a selection of Turner’s most spectacular watercolours from the 1840s which depict the unique character of Venetian light.
'Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude' unites works from the Tate Gallery, The Holkham Estate and art galleries and other museums around the UK including Glasgow Museums, Walker Art Gallery Liverpool and Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust, as well as works from the USA.