Home > Modern Art > J.M.W. Turner–The Wreck of the Minotaur

J.M.W. Turner–The Wreck of the Minotaur

File:Shipwreck turner.jpg

At heart, RT is a romantic: essentially optimistic, a believer in beauty, dramatic in his understated way.  No wonder, then, that he has long been a fan of the British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), Something of a prodigy, Turner was producing respectable architectural studies by the age of 12 and entered the Royal Academy of Art at 14. His first watercolor drawing was accepted for the RA’s Summer Exhibition in 1790; Turner was 15.

By 1796, Turner had established a reputation as an oil painter (he was also known for his watercolors), and he was able to support himself as an artist for the rest of his life. Financial security made it possible for Turner to experiment boldly with effects of light, color, and mood, but did not bring social success or marriage. The artist was something of a recluse; his father lived with him for 30 years, working as studio assistant, and after his death Turner began to suffer from depression. He is believed to have fathered two daughters with Sarah Danby, an older widow.

John Ruskin praised Turner’s work, and Claude Monet is known to have studied Turner’s paintings. It should be added that Turner was not adverse to addressing contemporary political issues, as his paintings The Slave Ship and Rain, Steam, and Speed–The Great Western Railway demonstrate. But the painting that RT has chosen to illustrate this post with commemorates the loss of a British Navy ship of the line, a veteran of many important battles, including Trafalgar, in 1810. About 450 men were lost in the wreck.  RT

Painting: HMS Minotaur (1793); J. M. W. Turner. WikiCmns; Public Domain.


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  1. October 7, 2013 at 5:50 am

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