J. M. W. Turner

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J. M. W. Turner Photo

Art has always remained synonymous with romance, and J. M. W. Turner is regarded as the one artist who was able to capture this relationship beautifully. He is England’s most loved romantic artist, he was also known as the ‘painter of light’ which was due to his uncanny ability to make his paintings capture light through the use of bright colors. Born Joseph Mallord William Turner on April 23, 1775 in Covent Garden London, Turner became enamored with art when he was just 14. Turner is also given the romantic tag due to his looks, well regarded as a thoroughly good looking man his looks were in line with most fictional English heroes one often reads about in books. This only added to his appeal.

Turner was a very perceptive youth which only made him a more alluring artist, to this day Turner lives through his paintings. This also gave him a fiercely competitive streak; he liked competing with other fellow artists like John Constable. Every painting of Turner’s is rigged in his devotion, energy and emotion. Turner’s style is deeply embedded in the use of oils, colors and engravings. His strength lays in picturesque landscapes and seascapes; he is regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to a prominence which is so far unrivaled in history. He was a mere teenager when his first work was exhibited; his entire life was devoted to art. Unlike many other artists who fell off the radar or were recognized years after their demise, Turner was famous throughout his life as an artist and remains famous to this day. Art lovers state that due to his steely devotion to art, his personal life suffered and his competitive streak made him a man not to be reckoned with in the 18th century. He simply loved and left – which was considered a norm back then, he never cared about anything or anyone other than art. He was never self-conscious about his private life but always on the defensive when it came to his art.

J. M. W. Turner’s classic, the Apollo and Python was based on Greek mythology. The subject matter is dim but the way Turner painted Apollo in bright colors it is as if a light is shining on him.  The painting is also considered some-what biographical in nature, looking closely at it the viewer can see the python is dead but in the dark colors behind it there are outlines of other dark monsters still alive. This maybe Turner’s way of depicting his own dark side, he was afraid of losing his hand on art that he loved and the constant fear that he too may go mad one day and take his own life like his mother did. The Apollo and Python is also considered a great masterpiece as there is a hint of poetry and philosophy attached to the painting as well. Similarly in Turner’s Calais Pier, there is vast seaside shown with layers of small ships docking yet there is one main ship in the midst which truly stands out – thanks to Turner’s brilliance with using bright colors. This is also considered biographical as the ship is Turner in many ways. He is telling the viewer that he is different from the rest of the artists of his generation; there is something more to him then what the others have.


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