Turner Watercolours at the National Gallery of Ireland

I managed to catch this exhibition on my last visit to the National Gallery of Ireland, earlier this month. A very worthwhile exhibition to visit on a wet, dreary January day.  The exhibition consists of a total of 31 watercolour paintings by the well know 19th century, English artist J.M.W. Turner.  They were donated to the National Gallery, Dublin by the art collector Henry Vaughan in 1900 and due to the sensitive nature of watercolours are only displayed during the 'dark' month of January, when the light is weak.  Good Morning, Mister Turner.

Turner was an intensely private and reclusive man, born in Covent Garden in London (1775 -1851). He was a very prolific artist and left a legacy of over 2,000 paintings, 19,000 drawings and sketches. He was also considered quite eccentric during his lifetime and story has it on one occasion he tied himself to the mast of a ship during a storm at sea, to experience the violence of nature - however true this may be, he was often referred to as the "Painter of light" and when you see his paintings you can see why. He was obsessed with observing nature and its atmospheric effects.  He captures the essence of light and it's mystical interaction with water amazingly in these watercolours.

My favourites in the exhibition were the paintings done in Venice - the Storm at the Mouth of the Grand Canal Venice (1840) was truly amazing.  There is a feeling that it almost isn't there, as you look at the painting and you kind of fall into it .... I found it very peaceful to stand there gazing at it. Not much time left to visit it, as the exhibition ends on Wednesday 31st January!

Turner at the National Gallery of Ireland - sunlight and feeling - Turner captured not just what a place looked like, but what it felt like to be there (article, RTE, 2017 Cristin Leach)


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