William Turner is a brilliant British artist of the 19th century, a recognized master of landscape and battle genres, a marine painter, an outstanding representative of romanticism in world painting. Turner’s paintings are characterized by a special manner of depicting the elements and sunlight, the dominance of a bright palette of colors. In recent years, the interest in abstract art is clearly visible in the work of William Turner.
Most of the master’s works, according to his will, were transferred to the British people and in our time adorn the collection of the London Tight Gallery.
Biography of William Turner
William showed an early interest in painting and taught himself how to paint with watercolors. Several of his works accidentally caught the eye of reputable London artists and, on their recommendation, the 14-year-old Turner was admitted to the Royal Academy of Arts.
A year after the start of training, the first success came to the young man. One of his watercolor paintings was chosen for the annual exhibition of works by students of the Academy of Arts. The young painter enthusiastically mastered knowledge and tried to copy the works of the masters in order to hone his own skills. William was particularly impressed by the paintings and engravings of Claude Lorrain. When he first saw the painting “The Departure of the Queen of Sheba”, Turner could not hold back his tears.
Many years later, he created his own masterpiece, Dido, similar in theme. Both works are now on display at the London National Gallery. Under the influence of Lorrain, Turner also began to work with engravings in the mezzotint technique.
In 1799, 25-year-old William was elected a corresponding member of the Royal Academy. He became the youngest artist in the institution’s history to be awarded this high title. From the first years of his professional activity, the artist showed interest in the landscape genre.
Turner was deeply convinced that the landscape is able to express deep feelings and evoke strong emotions in the viewer no worse than historical paintings. During the Napoleonic Wars, the painter also proved to be a skilled master of the battle genre. The pictures “Battle of Trafalgar” and “Field of Waterloo” were well received by the public and critics.
After the first trip to Italy in 1819, the artist’s style changed.
He was not afraid to experiment with light, his works became more vivid and expressive. It was the canvases of this period of creativity that a few decades later had a huge influence on the French Impressionists, especially Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro.
In the 30s and 40s of the 19th century, he gradually abandoned academic painting. His canvases of the late period of creativity with elements of abstraction were far ahead of their time.
A flurry of criticism falls upon the master, and Queen Victoria even refused to confer a knighthood on the honored master. Contemporaries considered him mentally ill and lost interest in his work.
In December 1851, William Turner died at the age of 76. And 133 years later, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of contemporary fine art was named after him.