Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851) by Scholes, Robert

J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851) was born in Covent Garden in the middle of London, and became one of the most famous English artists of all time. He is usually and properly called a “romantic” painter, though he painted natural scenes with a breath-taking energy vastly different from the gentle landscapes of his contemporary, , who is also known as a “romantic” painter. Information about Turner and images of his work are widely available, and there is a full biography of him on the web at the Turner Society site . Joseph Mallord William Turner John Constable http://www.turnersociety.org.uk/ The Victorian cultural critic , who defended Turner’s work against mindless attacks, though maintining a critical perspective on it, recounts the following revealing episode about Turner’s painting , which was related to him in a letter by Rev. W. Kingsley (of Sidney College, Cambridge), whose words he gives here: John Ruskin Snow Storm () The story I told you about the ‘Snowstorm’ was this: I had taken my mother and a cousin to see Turner’s pictures, and, as my mother knows nothing about art, I was taking her down the gallery to look at the large ‘Richmond Park,’ but as we were passing the ‘Snowstorm’ she stopped before it, and I could hardly get her to look at any other picture; and she told me a great deal more about it than I had any notion of, though I have seen many sea storms. She had been in such a scene on the coast of Holland during the war. When, some time afterwards, I thanked Turner for his permission for her to see his pictures, I told him that he would not guess which had caught my mother’s fancy, and then named the picture; and he then said, ‘I did not paint it to be understood, but I wished to show what such a scene was like; I got the sailors to lash me to the mast to observe it; I was lashed for four hours, and I did not expect to escape, but I felt bound to record it if I did. But no one had any business to like the picture.’ ‘But,’ said I, ‘my mother once went through just such a scene, and it brought it all back to her. ‘Is your mother a painter?’ ‘No.’ ‘Then she ought to have been thinking of something else.’ http://art-bin.com/art/oruskin4.html

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