April 23, 2017
James Mallord Turner (1775-1851), Tring, Hertfordshire, no date, graphite and gouache, 8 1/16 x 10 3/4 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Mantyla, 1974.
English artist James Mallord William Turner was born on this day in 1775. Known in his professional life as JMW Turner, he worked mostly in oil and watercolor, though early in his career he often sketched. As a young boy, he sketched and painted with great success and apprenticed with an architect as well. At the age of 14, Turner enrolled at the Royal Academy of Art. He exhibited often at the Academy to great public acclaim.
Turner spent a few years traveling throughout Europe, studying and painting in the great museums. It was during this time that Turner began painting maritime scenes, as he found himself so entranced by the power of the sea. His landscape scenes, including his maritime scenes, elevated the entire genre of landscapes to something much more grand, in order to express the “sublime” nature of the natural world—an idea that was very popular at his time.