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The fine vertical cracks all over the picture indicate that this was one of a group of experimental paintings that were found rolled up in Turner’s studio at the time of his death. A number of these works, including 'The Falls of the Clyde', now in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool, were based on well known earlier compositions, but the subject of this canvas has eluded identification. On either side of the composition it is just possible to make out sketchy trees and foliage, and on the right a bank slopes towards the shallows of the river. In the background, silhouetted against misty sunlight, is a hill or mound. Turner has used delicately swept strokes of colour to create this atmospheric landscape, which at a casual first glance appears to be entirely formless. The extremely pale tones are more typical of watercolour than oil painting and are characteristic of the artist’s late work.

Details

  • Title: Landscape
  • Creator: Joseph Mallord William Turner
  • Date Created: About 1840 - About 1850
  • tag / style: Turner; landscape; atmosphere; trees; shadow; foliage; impressionistic; light; sunlight
  • Physical Dimensions: w1225 x h920 cm (Without frame)
  • Artist biographical information: Born in London, the son of a Covent Garden barber, Joseph Mallord William Turner was a youthful prodigy. He was making drawings of professional quality by the age of 12. He was just 15 when he exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in the spring of 1790. Turner came to be considered the greatest landscapist that Britain has produced. Too progressive for many tastes during his own lifetime, he exerted considerable influence upon artists later in the 19th century. Among them were the American painters of the Hudson River school. They responded powerfully to Turner's elemental handling of extremes of nature. The French Impressionists emulated his ability to use paint to describe fleeting, evanescent effects of nature. Later, the European Symbolists admired the poetic, visionary quality of his landscapes and the way he infused them with a range of metaphysical meanings.
  • Additional artwork information: As with 'The Falls of the Clyde' (Lady Lever Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool), Turner based this oil on an earlier composition from the 'Liber Studiorum' print series. Indeed, it may be a re-working of 'The Castle above the Meadows' (plate No.8), which is a generalised Arcadian scene. Here, delicately swept strokes of colour create a mysterious atmospheric effect. This painting featured in the Walker Art Gallery’s exhibition ‘Turner’s Journeys of the Imagination’ in 2002. To read more about this exhibition, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/exhibitions/turner/
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: Presented by Lady Holt in 1946

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