Sunday, May 17, 2009


Beauty like on the painting below leaves me speechless.

Dutch boats in a gale, by Joseph Mallord William Turner (oil on canvas, 1801). I admit that I really don't give that much about the lion's share of Turners paintings. Too esoteric, colors too jolly, too out of focus (his engravings are another matter). Actually, I have often wondered how he got away with it in nineteenth century Britain. Turner, a romantic painter who acquired fame at a very young age (he had his first work exhibitioned at the Royal Academy at 15, and had his own studio three years later), became famous through works like Rain, Steam and Speed, Peace: Burial at Sea and Snowstorm. Dutch Boats in a Gale seems rather like the work of a Dutch Master. And indeed, the person who commissioned the work, the Duke of Bridgewater, seems to have wanted Turner to craft a work reminiscent of a painting by the Dutch artist Willem Van De Velde (1611-1693). The mystery deepens when we know that barely two years later, Turner also painted Calais Pier, which, apart from the pier in the corner to the right below, has practically the very same elements as the earlier work, but which is, from a technical point of view, of a lower standard.

Be all that as it may... enjoy it.


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