Turner - Norham Castle, Sunrise

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Norham Castle, Sunrise
Joseph Mallord William Turner (British 1775-1851)
Oil on canvas, 90.8-121.9 cm. (35 3/4 x 48 in)
Tate Gallery, London

Joseph Mallord William Turner is arguably the best landscape painter of all time. A child prodigy, he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Art in 1789, when he was only 14 years old, and he exhibited his first oil painting in 1796. His early works - executed in a classic style- were well received by critics, who later turned against him when Turner developed his later and freer style. His latest, almost abstract works inspired later generations of artists, and were much admired by the Impressionists.

Located on the border between England and Scotland, Norham Castle is one of the most spectacular ruined fortress in North England. Turner knew the place quite well, as he had visited the castle in 1797, 1801 and 1831, and he had painted several watercolors showing the castle at sunrise. "Norham Castle: Sunrise" is one of the culmination points of the process of artistic liberation undertaken by Turner in the 1830's, and that resulted in the great masterpieces of the following decade, such as the famous "Rain, Steam and Speed" (National Gallery, London) and the nearly abstract "Sunrise with sea monsters" or "Mountain Landscape"(both in the Tate Gallery in London).

On one occasion, a critic described Turner as "that artist who paints atmospheres". In this painting, landscape and architecture have merged, and almost any recognizable form has been diluted by the omnipresent light of the sunrise.

G. Fernández -

Turner - Sunrise with sea monsters

"Sunrise with sea monsters", a late landscape by Turner

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