Joseph Mallord William Turner (born in , on , (exact date disputed), died , ) was an landscape artist, whose style can be said to lay the foundations for .
Life and career
His father, William Turner, was a wig-maker who later became a barber. His mother, Mary Marshall, a housewife, became increasingly mentally unstable during his early years, perhaps in part due to the early death of Turner's younger sister in . She died in , having been committed to a .
Possibly due to the load placed on the family by these problems, the young Turner was sent in to stay with his uncle on his mother's side in , which was then a small town west of on the banks of the . It was here that he first expressed an interest in painting. A year later he went to school in in to the east of London in the area of the . At this time he had been creating many paintings, which his father exhibited in his shop window.
He was accepted into the when he was only 15 years old. Turner was interested in being a part of the Royal Academy of Art unlike some of his contemporaries. At first Turner showed a keen interest in architecture but was advised to keep to painting by the architect . , the president of the Royal Academy at that time, chaired the panel that admitted him. A of his was accepted for the of after only one year's study. He exhibited his first in . Throughout the rest of his life, he regularly exhibited at the academy.
The fighting tugged to her last berth to be broken up,
He is commonly known as "the painter of light". Although renowned for his oils, Turner is also regarded as one of the founders of English watercolour landscape painting.
One of his most famous oil paintings is , painted in , which hangs in the . See also .
Turner travelled widely in Europe, starting with and in and studying in the in in the same year. He also made many visits to during his lifetime. He never married, although he had a mistress, Sarah Danby, by whom he had two daughters.
As he grew older, Turner became more eccentric. He had few close friends, except for his father, who lived with him for thirty years, eventually working as his studio assistant. His father died in , which had a profound effect on him, and thereafter he was subject to bouts of .
Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway painted (1844).
He died in his house in , on . At his request he was buried in , where he lies next to Sir Joshua Reynolds. His last exhibition at the Royal Academy was in .
Turner's talent was recognized early in his life, becoming a full art at the age of 23. Financial independence allowed Turner to innovate and create paintings that astonished many. According to David Piper's The Illustrated History of Art, his later pictures were called "fantastic puzzles." However, Turner was still recognized as an artistic genius: influential English art critic described Turner as the artist who could most "stirringly and truthfully measure the moods of Nature." (Piper 321)
Turner is a romantic painter interested in the ; he portrays the awesome, untamed power of Nature towards mankind. The subject of shipwrecks, fires or natural catastrophes as well as natural phenomena (like sunlight, storm, rain, fog) is a statement of the smallness of mankind towards Nature. In his paintings humans are depicted as mere peons of Nature. Like most Romanticists, Nature (landscape) is a reflection of the ownґs soul or mood. He focused on the violent power of the sea, as seen in Dawn after the Wreck (1840) and The Slave-Ship (1840).
His first works, such as Tintern Abbey (1795) and Venice: S. Giorgio Maggiore (1819), stayed true to the traditions of English landscape. However, in Hannibal Crossing the Alps (1812), his emphasis on the destructive power of nature had already come into play. Turner perfected his technique to develop the theme through his years. His distinctive style of painting, in which he used watercolor technique with oil paints, created lightness, fluency, and disappearing atmospheric effects.