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Joseph Mallord William Turner, or William Turner, as he was known in his time, was one of the finest painters of the 19th century, rivaling John Constable and inspiring painters like Monet.
An excellent painter, his reach traveled as far as the ends of Europe, and J.M.W. Turner was considered a prodigy from a very young age. But what made him as famous as he was, and what took it all away?
Did you know that the Royal Academy of Arts awards the Turner Medal in Turner's honor?
Controversial in every regard, no matter how much he was revered, William Turner remained extremely guarded about his life and was considered eccentric by most. A person that was once boasted of to the famous Thomas Stothard, J M W Turner had a somewhat of a poor upbringing, boasting a Cockney accent and a Royal Academy admission at the age of 14. Turner's paintings allowed his imagination to run amok, from shipwrecks to fires, to smoke riddled fogs and other natural phenomena.
Known as the best landscapist of the century, Joseph Mallord William Turner is remembered for being a huge inspiration to the Impressionist movement of the 1870s. J M W Turner is now displayed at the Tate gallery in Britain, also called the National Gallery. There is also an award named after him, which Richard Wilson, an artist, has won twice.
Read along to learn about the J.M.W. Turner museum, Turner paintings, and many more artistic objects that J.M.W. Turner exhibited. Afterward, also check out facts about Pablo Picasso and why do singers wear earpieces?
Joseph Mallord William Turner, accepted by the Royal Academy of Arts at the tender age of 14, proudly displaying his paintings on his father's shop window, graduated to an art gallery some years later.
As a landscape painter, he was renowned for his oil paintings work; he was also famous for his watercolor usage. His parents were Mary Marshall and William Turner, a barber, and wig maker. The English painter has been compared to Sir Joshua Reynolds, an avid painter of the 19th century.
A traveler almost by nature, Joseph Mallord William Turner's uniqueness was marked by the things mentioned above, and his first painting, Fishermen at Sea (1796), was praised throughout the country. As an associate, Turner attended the Royal Academy and later upgraded his position to an academician. His personal life had taken a toll at this point. His mother was admitted to a mental hospital, and he never married but was in a relationship with Sarah Danby.
He has created almost 1600 paintings and sketches, with many of them being on display and many of the oils destroyed. He also acted as an English art critic at some point. His first oil painting was not the one produced for the Royal Academy but was done in his drawings made when he was younger, which are evidenced to have been sold for a few shillings by his father. A lot of them were unfortunately destroyed. He focused primarily on how light would move, and the different effects of atmosphere made his painting style completely unique. He spent a lot of time traveling, looking for inspiration perhaps, and painted a beautiful picture called the Keelmen heaving in coals by moonlight (1835).
The specialty of this work and the others that would follow lies in what we mentioned previously. In the 1800s, coal was an essential means of production, and his painting was a great tribute to that. J.M.W. Turner made the shallow river of Tyne, flowing through the fields of the coal production, which said keelmen would ferry from the mines to the river, feeding it through the harbor mouth. But what made it genuinely stunning was the way the moonlight reflected off of the calm waters, how the silhouettes in the back had tiny specks of them glittering. J.M.W. Turner's paintings drew proper attention to nature and its beauty in his work, hence his reverence in the 19th century.
His painting technique was also interesting, considering that he made exclusively British art at one point. Many of the parts of the painting mentioned above were done with a palette knife, usually used to mix colors on a palette. Turner had a natural eye for painting, as he would paint some parts more thickly than others in order for them to either pop out or for the light to catch it in just the right way.
This technique is called impasto, applying thick paint for the artistic value of the said painting to increase. His traveling benefited him a lot, with the wonders in the world capturing his eye and, in turn, our hearts with his keen eye for detail and his wondrous work. Joseph Mallord William Turner was especially inspired by Venice and made two landscape paintings there. The illustration of his art style's development is shown almost a decade apart from each other.
In Venice: The Dogana and San Giorgio Maggiore showed activity across the Grand Canal, with two important sites being featured, the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore and the Dogana, or the House of Customs. In the next one, J M W Turner studies atmospheric effects instead. The people's role is diminished, and architectural details are hazy. Instead, there is more fog in the painting, looking at it the authentic way one would've standing on that corner of Venice.
A small will was made by William Turner on his deathbed, keeping an amount aside for what he called decaying artists. William, however, had not made a huge fortune as he was displayed at the Royal Academy and did commissions here and there.
William originally had an interest in architecture, as he worked with them for a while, but was advised to keep painting by the architect Thomas Hardwick.
When the talented artist was, to an extent, prosperous, he moved to London, where he opened an art gallery to showcase his works. His traveling increased at this point, and he made almost 400 paintings during them, the trip sponsored by a group of noblemen. He had a lot of inspirations and tried to master several painting techniques, but in the end, he demonstrated his uniqueness by using the ways mentioned above.
His primary focus lied on the atmosphere and man's helplessness against it, but not in a bad way. For example, in Snowstorm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing, he created an image with his oil paints to portray an interesting image, the power of nature, and the inability of humankind to face it. His travels inspired a lot in him, and he created almost 1500 works, many of which were converted into paintings.
In 1819, he traveled widely across Europe, to Naples, Rome, and another part of Italy. This was when he created his famous works and explored a change in the way he used color, as seen in The Grand Canal, Venice; showing specific regard to warmer and cooler tones, more paint, and many layers of paints showing its true beauty.
Despite the countless biographies written and made of him, the talented artist's eccentricity and disregard for his social life cannot be done justice to.
He had been insanely private throughout his life, with his father, who worked as a studio assistant for his son, being one of the only people he confided in. This is why, when the man passed away, it took an awful toll on Turner, making him have several days of depression at a time.
Starring Timothy Spall as the leading actor, Mr. Turner is a story about a famous painter and was described as a revolutionary painter and a great artist by the movie director. The last quarter of his life is depicted, showing his eventual move-in with Sophia Booth, his on and off relationship with his housekeeper, and the bouts of depression he suffered from due to his father's death. The memorialized incident of the red paint smear is depicted beautifully here.
In a presentation at the Royal Academy, Turner's painting was placed next to John Constable's. Seeing how vibrant his work looked next to Turner's, he quickly smeared a red paint mark representing a buoy.
As already mentioned, there is no doubt that William Turner revolutionized the painting industry, being a heavy influence on the Impressionist movement. He is unique in the sense that he has a lot of paintings that we can still review and marvel at.
His most famous paintings are still hung in art galleries, with the most extensive collection being displayed at the National Gallery in Britain. Rome from Mt. Aventine, a painting of his, was described as absolutely wondrous by every newspaper. It was sold for 30.3 million pounds at an auction in 2016, the most expensive painting of a pre-20th-century artist ever sold.
Other famous paintings by him include the burning of the house of the lord and commons, Dido building Carthage, the painting of St. Pauls Cathedral, fighting Temeraire, Rain, steam, and speed, some of his greatest paintings. The first one mentioned is remarkable because he witnessed it himself. This was relatively late in his career, in 1834, after he was done with his travels and was settling down with his mistress.
In 1834, on October 16, a fire broke out in the Houses of Parliament, and J.M.W. Turner made quick sketches of it which turned out to be one of his most famous paintings. Norham Castle, Sunrise is fascinating because it employs one of Turner's work signature techniques. The whole idea is to focus on the atmospheric identity and not make the architecture the focal point in the room. The fighting Temeraire respects its heroic past, as the painting depicts its last couple of desperate tries. Turner's work in prints also gained massive interest in the community, and he is an influence on modern painters still.
To pay tribute to Turner's honor, many art schools worldwide have displayed the color chart portrait and greatest paintings. The City of Westminster unveiled a memorial plaque at the site of his birthplace at 21 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, on June 2, 1999. Turner's Britain travel, particularly to Wales, where he produced a wide range of sketches for working up into studies and watercolors. Turner's style and Turner's imagination of old painting exhibited the overall history painting and has widely impacted modern art. Like the finished paintings by young Turner, artist-painted portraits are of great value in auctions today.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for William Turner artist facts, then why not take a look at why do painters wear white or Australian painted lady?
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