in search of the sublime and beautiful

The great “painter of light”,  Joseph Mallord William Turner,  now has a page at the artisans’ gallery.

Turner, and Turner only, would follow and render on the canvas
that mystery of decided lines,
that distinct, sharp, visible, but unintelligible and inextricable richness
which, examined part by part, is to the eye nothing but confusion and defeat,
which, taken as a whole, is all unity, symmetry, and truth.

John Ruskin
on the man he regarded as the greatest landscape painter of all time.


Joseph Mallord William Turner - Sunset at Margate


Turner travelled extensively in the search of the sublime and beautiful. The paintings on his page are a small selection which (admittedly to my very subjective taste) express these qualities, regardless of whether one knows their location or subject matter; paintings which, in Ruskin’s words, deliver to the soul “unity, symmetry and truth”.

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) was just 15 years old when he exhibited his first picture at the Royal Academy. His talent in the application of paint to render land, sea, sky and atmosphere was unmatched in his time. Commonly known as “the painter of light”, we can thank Turner for taking painting to the edge of abstraction and playing there, unafraid. His priceless legacy to the generations of artists who followed gave them (us) permission to engage this fearless and playful expression of the sacred sublime.

To continue reading, please visit the page:
Joseph Mallord William Turner


6 thoughts on “in search of the sublime and beautiful

  1. Not being one that has ever felt deeply drawn to studying a lot art – historical or contemporary, I only ever seem to hold a couple of names as reference. Turner is always the first that comes to mind. I still remember the day I came into a small room in the NSW Gallery and there it was…. a small oil… all pale and yellow… but the capturing of light was unmistakeable. Well done for including him here. Mx

    1. So happy to know you’ve been blessed to meet a real “Turner” face-to-face dear Melinda. It’s always an unforgettable experience. And even more so, knowing what he was striving to express…

  2. paintings to drown in – lose myself in. And particularly now when i feel frayed and “exposed,”I can rest in these and be deeply nourished

    1. Nina – be blessed and nourished – Turner too had his experiences of being “frayed and exposed”. My guess is that he painted his way back to sanity and strength. The landscape/earth itself guided him. ❤

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