J.M.W. Turner was a painter whose treatment of light put him squarely in the pantheon of the world’s preeminent artists, but his character was a tangle of fascinating contradictions. While he could be coarse and rude, manipulative, ill-mannered, and inarticulate, he was also generous, questioning, and humane, and he displayed through his work a hitherto unrecognized optimism about the course of human progress. With two illegitimate daughters and several mistresses whom Turner made a career of not including in his public life, the painter was also known for his entrepreneurial cunning, demanding and receiving the highest prices for his work.
Over the course of sixty years, Turner traveled thousands of miles to seek out the landscapes of England and Europe. He was drawn overwhelmingly to coasts, to the electrifying rub of the land with the sea, and he regularly observed their union from the cliff, the beach, the pier, or from a small boat. Fueled by his prodigious talent, Turner revealed to himself and others the personality of the British and European landscapes and the moods of the surrounding seas. He kept no diary, but his many sketchbooks are intensely autobiographical, giving clues to his techniques, his itineraries, his income and expenditures, and his struggle to master the theories of perspective.
In Turner, James Hamilton takes advantage of new material discovered since the 1975 bicentennial celebration of the artist’s birth, paying particular attention to the diary of sketches with which Turner narrated his life. Hamilton’s textured portrait is fully complemented by a sixteen-page illustrations insert, including many color reproductions of Turner’s most famous landscape paintings. Seamlessly blending vibrant biography with astute art criticism, Hamilton writes with energy, style, and erudition to address the contradictions of this great artist.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.07(w) x 9.19(h) x 1.16(d)|
About the Author
James Hamilton is an art historian and biographer. Formerly a Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, he is now the university curator and honorary reader in the history of art at the University of Birmingham in England. He organized and wrote the catalogue of the exhibition "Turner and the Scientists" at the Tate, and his biography of J. M. W. Turner was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Award.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An excellent study of Turner and his times. A tad jumbled, I felt the author could have done a better job with continuity and flow. In the end, one feels there is much more to Turner as a man, though the book does an excellent job of detailing the painters life works and public cantankerous nature. I did greatly appreciate the detailed discussion of color and how Turner brought his visual impressions of the world to canvas.
An enigmatic gentleman, the great English painter J.M.W. Turner courted secrecy to the point that he is said to have painted with his door locked and, if he were working away from home, he would immediately cover his painting should anyone attempt to see his work. Did he fear that someone would try to take his method of painting, discover how he created such wondrous colors? No concern there as Turner was one of a kind and painted as only he could. Now, in this beautiful volume published in association with Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, England, the world is able to see these masterworks and enjoy them over and over again. They represent Britain as seen through the artist's eyes shortly after the Industrial Revolution. Traveling by foot, horseback, coach or river boat he traversed his country capturing agrarian towns, growing cities, ancient castles, landscapes, churches, and more. Thanks to James Hamilton 'Turner's Britain' is a joy for those who appreciate art and a boon for art historians.