Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 23 - J.M.W. Turner

British landscape painter and watercolorist Joseph Mallord William "J. M. W." Turner was born in London on April 23, 1775. He pioneered the use of light, color and atmosphere in painting, which later influenced Impressionism. In his teens he showed great skill at drawing and entered the Royal Academy schools, where he later exhibited paintings and watercolors and became an academician. Financially free to innovate with color and dramatic washes of paint, he focused intently on natural phenomena and catastrophes, including fire, rain, storms, fog, sunlight and the power of the sea as well as shipwrecks. His pictures often incorporated references to literature, mythology and historical events. Tennyson called him "The Shakespeare of landscape." Turner’s late works reflected profound changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution. Pictured: “The ‘Fighting Téméraire’ Tugged to Her Last Berth to Be Broken Up” (1839), in which a foul, industrial tugboat tows a majestic old warship, marking the end of an epoch.

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