Happy 273rd Birthday to Joseph Mallard William Turner! To celebrate the birth of one of the preeminent English painters, and artist of one of the masterworks in the Allen Memorial Art Museum collection, we are sharing the entry from our recent collection catalog:
“J. M. W. Turner’s stunning View of Venice, one of the most important paintings in the AMAM collection, brilliantly captures the mood and atmosphere of a sun-drenched Venetian day. Rising to prominence first as a topographical watercolorist, then as a painter of historical, sublime landscapes, Turner was the most important British landscape painter during the first half of the nineteenth century.
This painting epitomizes Turner’s light, airy palette of cadmium yellows, whites, and the occasional touches of deep red. It was made for Turner’s friend, the sculptor Sir Francis Chantrey, R.A., and was first exhibited in 1841 at the Royal Academy in London. Reviews of the 1841 exhibition praise Turner’s Venetian pictures for “the clearness of air and water” and as being “a glorious example of colour, leaving, as usual, much to the fancy of the spectator; and absolutely extorting applause.” Here the mouth of the Canale della Giudecca-with carefully placed gondolas- dynamically leads toward the horizon, with the Doges’ Palace (Palazzo Ducale) and the Riva degli Schiavoni in the center, and the Piazzetta San Marco with the Campanile and the Libreria Sansoviniana to their left. The domed church of San Giorgio Maggiore dominates the right middle ground. Oberlin’s painting, brilliantly executed in three layers over white ground, is in excellent condition with impasto and glazes still intact.
Art dealer Joseph Duveen sold the Turner painting to Elisabeth Severance Prentiss in 1925. ”
This is cheesy, but — seeing this painting in person made me want to go to Oberlin.