Turner and the Masters (Tate Britiain, 14th December 2009)

‘Yes, atmosphere is my style’.

This quote from Turner was refered one of the final rooms of the exhibition and I found it very apt in summing up what I felt about this exhibition.  Turner embodies the awesome and sublime that is the aesthetic of the Romantic movement.  I think what interested me most about this exhibition is not how like the Masters that Turner’s work is, but how different it is from them.  The Claudes and Poussins are very much more precise in the detail.  It’s as if Turner has observed the technical aspects of the paintings that he was influenced by and then decides to add atmosphere to the narrative by an impressionistic approach to the subject matter.  Captured in Turner’s work is that sense of the powerful expressiveness of nature. 

It is those streaks of yellow, gold and pink that makes Turner’s work so attractive to me.   I particulary like  the paintings of the sun rising and setting and reflecting on the water.   The 1798 image of Durham Cathedral is amazing showing the light coming through the windows and doors across the columns the gothic cathedral is a fantastic example of Turner using light and colour to bring atmosphere to his work. 


Solkein, David (2009) Turner and the Masters. London: Tate Gallery

Further Information

Tate Gallery web site and exhibition information

Reviews and Previews

Turner and the Masters (New Statesman)
Turner and the Masters (The Guardian)
Turner and the Masters (The Telegraph)

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