Saturday, November 08, 2014

JMW Turner and Mr Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner is currently the artistic flavor of the month in the United Kingdom. A major exhibition, Late Turner – Painting Set Free, has been on show since September at Tate Britain, showing works from the last 16 years of his life. At the end of last month Mike Leigh’s warts and all bio-pic of the man’s last 25 years opened on 45 screens in London alone.

The romantic painter who many consider to be England’s greatest is credited with being the impressionist movements preface. The Guardian Newspaper’s art critic, Johathan Jones, goes further. Stating about the exhibitionThe old cliché that Turner anticipated the Impressionists fades away in this exhibition. Not because it's untrue, but simply because it is so inadequate to his true influence. If you can see Monet's Impression: Sunrise foreshadowed in his watercolours you can also see how Salvador Dali and Max Ernst echo Turner's more surreal moments – his trees that float in the sky like glowing jellyfish, his encrustations of edible-seeming paint – and how the American artist Cy Twombly reinterprets his classical scenes in paintings that are great lyrical sighs of abstraction and graffiti.

Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May where Timothy Spall in the role of JMW Turner picked the Best Actor gong. Varity’s chief film critic Scott Foundas said of the film an ecstatically beautiful and exquisitely detailed portrait of the artist as a cantankerous middle-aged man whose brilliance with the brush overshadows his sometimes appalling lack of social graces.

No doubt galleries around the world will dust off their Turner’s and re-hang them in places of prominence when Mr Turner graces a screen near them. In France that will be December 3, the US December 19, Australia and New Zealand in January and God only knows when or even if in the Philippines.  

1 comment:

Marlene Detierro said...

An amazing look at this iconoclastic British painter. Spall should have won the Oscar and Leigh as well for one of his best directing efforts.

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