Art Quote: What Made Turner Stand Out?

Self-Portrait c.1799 by  Joseph Mallord William Turner. In Tate Britain.
Self-Portrait c.1799 by
Joseph Mallord William Turner. In Tate Britain.

“What made Turner’s first seascapes stand out on the [Royal] Academy’s crowded walls? … Rather than competing with the works of other artists for size and eye-catching effects (a tactic for which Turner later became renowned), these temporal coastal scenes demanded a close kind of viewing. With an understated drama and subtle variation in light and colour, they [offered] a respite from the visual cacophony around them…”

— Richard Johns, “Charted Waters” in Turner and the Sea, page 25

One Reply to “Art Quote: What Made Turner Stand Out?”

  1. I love the painting “Calais Sands Low Water”. The colours are beautiful and the small figures digging clams (or whatever) drag your eye far out into the water, it’s only the bright sun that manages to drag your eye back into the painting. He seems to capture the feeling behind the scene for his viewers by using bright colors to add emotion to his pieces. No matter what the feeling the painting conveys, he always manages to paint a beautiful sky.

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