Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) was the greatest landscape artist of his time, and almost certainly the best known British artist. His talent for using color and light to depict landscapes earned him the nickname "The Painter of Light," and his approach to landscape art rivaled historical painting. As Turner aged, he began to capture architectural and natural detail in his works. the rest of his work also became more fluid too. Below you can enjoy 10 of his most famous paintings.
1. THE FIGHTING TEMERAIRE
William Turner’s HMS Temeraire was a 98-gun second-rate warship of the Royal Navy which is famous for its heroic performance in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar between U.K. and the combined fleets of French and Spanish Navies. J.M.W. Turner depicts the warship, years after its glorious days, being pulled by a tugboat, to be broken into scraps. The painting pays a tribute to sailing ships as they were going to be replaced by steam-powered vessels.'
Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire is his most famous painting and the one he referred to as his “darling”. In 2005, it was voted as Britain’sfavorite painting in a poll organized by the BBC.
2. RAIN, STEAM AND SPEED - THE GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY
Using blurring effects, this painting depicts a train approaching the viewer at high speed. The rain blends into the steam of the speeding train to leave the powerful black engine of the locomotive as the only visibly sharp object on the canvas. The location of the scene is the Maidenhead Railway Bridge which crosses River Thames. Rain, Steam and Speed is an outstanding example of J.M.W. William Turner's late works, which gained in popularity with time to become his most cherished masterpieces and a forerunner to Impressionism.
3. THE SLAVE SHIP
The Slave Ship (1840) by Turner is an oil painting depicting the Zong massacre in which 133 slaves were thrown into the sea to drown out of greed in 1781. The painting depicts a ship struggling in the stormy sea while a number of bodies with dark skin, and chained hands and feet, are floating in water. The picture is blurry without defined brush strokes, and Turner brilliantly uses colour to create a dramatic effect for the viewer. The Slave Ship focuses on the vices of the Industrial Revolution and nature's power over man.
4. HANNIBAL CROSSING THE ALPS
He led his army over the Alps and into Italy to take the war directly to the Roman Republic. Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps in 218 BC is one of the most celebrated military achievements in ancient warfare. As much as this painting captures this historic event, it brings to the fore a destructive power of natural forces, a prevalent theme in many of Turner’s later works. William Turner’s Hannibal crossing the Alps, known for parallels between Hannibal and Napoleon, is one of the most ambitious and renowned artworks of Turner’s early career.
5. THE DORT
J. M. W. Turner’s first visit to the Netherlands was in 1817 and is represented by this magnificent painting of a view of the harbour of Dordrecht, a city in western Netherlands. It is the finest example of the influence of Dutch marine painting on Turner's work and a tribute to Dutch artist Aelbert Cuyp, one of Turner's formative influences. On its exhibition, The Dort was hailed as "one of the most magnificent pictures ever exhibited" by the Morning Chronicle and Turner's contemporary, John Constable, called it "the most complete work of a genius I ever saw".
6. NORHAM CASTLE, SUNRISE
Located on the River Tweed, Norham Castle straddles the border between Scotland and England. Turner visited Norham Castle in 1797, and painted the castle in several well-known works of art. This particular painting was created during the later stages of his career when he painted more fluidly. Norham Castle, Sunrise is now considered one of Turner's finest paintings of light and atmosphere.
7. VENICE, FROM THE PORCH OF MADONNA DELLA SALUTE
Turner traveled extensively to try to find inspiration for his work, and when he come to Venice visited it for the first time in 1819. Turner's infatuation with this beautiful Italian city inspired a series of masterpieces, and this Venice, from the Porch of Madonna della Salute is his most famous work. This oil painting attempts to capture the grand canal along with some buildings in Venice, based on sketches Turner made when he was in this city.
8. DIDO BUILDING CARTHAGE
The city of Carthage was the capital of the ancient civilization of Carthage. In 1814 Turner painted a series on subjects that were related to Carthage and this is the most famous one. In the early works of Turner, he was inspired by the French artist Claude Lorrain, and the paintings Dido Building Carthage
was strongly influenced by Aeneid, a poem written by Virgil too.
9. THE BURNING OF THE HOUSES OF LORDS AND COMMONS
On October 16, 1834, a fire broke out in England's Houses of Parliament, caused the biggest blaze in London since the great fire of 1666. Turner was among the thousands of Londoners who witnessed the fire. After that he sketched the scene of the accident, and then used those sketches to create two famous paintings of the accident (both with the same title The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons). This painting is a dramatic record of the event and is a symbol of nature's power.
10. ROME, FROM MOUNT AVENTINE
Rome, From Mount Aventine
this painting shows Rome from the Aventine Hill, one of the seven hills on which ancient Rome stood, and Turner has created multiple paintings of Rome many paintings. When this particular image was first exposed, the Morning Post described it as "one of those startling images and amazing".