J.M.W.Turner: The Painter of Light

Mike Leigh's new film about the celebrated British artist has been lauded by critics at Cannes. Explore his life and works through images in the Bridgeman archive, available for licensing. 

'Mr. Turner', the keenly anticipated biopic, explores the last quarter century of J.M.W Turner's life and is sure to bring a renewed interest to the English Romantic landscape and marine artist when it is released in cinemas this autumn.

Turner showed exceptional artistic talent from an early age and entered the Royal Academy aged fourteen.

Travelling widely in Europe, suitable vehicles for Turner's imagination were found in shipwrecks, fires, natural catastrophes, and natural phenomena such as sunlight, storm, rain, and fog. 

He was fascinated by the powers of nature and transferred this passion onto canvas but the increasingly informal use of paint was considered controversial with some critics saying his works were unfinished…"pictures of nothing." 

If you are looking to commemorate Britain's most revered painter, over 780 of Turner's paintings and drawings are instantly available on our website for licensing from our represented collections, including the Courtauld Gallery and National Museums, Liverpool

For a more rounded overview of his life and work, view portraits of Turner, as well as of other artists featured in the film, including painterly rival John Constable and John Ruskin.

 

J. M. W.Turner (1775-1851) at the Royal Academy, Varnishing Day by William Parrott (1813-69) / The Collection of the Guild of St. George, Sheffield, UK
J. M. W.Turner (1775-1851) at the Royal Academy, Varnishing Day by William Parrott (1813-69) / The Collection of the Guild of St. George, Sheffield, UK

 

 

The Wreck Buoy (oil on canvas), J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) / © Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool
The Wreck Buoy (oil on canvas), J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) / © Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool

 

 

Rockets and Blue Lights (Close at Hand) to Warn Steamboats of Shoal Water, 1840 (oil on canvas), J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) / Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
Rockets and Blue Lights (Close at Hand) to Warn Steamboats of Shoal Water, 1840 (oil on canvas), J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) / Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

 

 

The Fighting Temeraire, 1839 (oil on canvas) by J.M.W. Turner  (1775-1851) / National Gallery, London, UK
The Fighting Temeraire, 1839 (oil on canvas) by J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) / National Gallery, London, UK

 

Turner's most famous works

The Fighting Temeraire (1839) was one of Turner’s great paintings, featuring a glowing sunset over a ghostly ship that had fought at the Battle of Trafalgar being towed away. In 2005 the painting was voted "Britain's favourite painting" in a BBC poll. 

Turner elevated landscapes and seascapes to an eminence rivalling history painting and in his later works he was inspired by the machines of the industrial revolution.

In Rain, Steam and Speed (1844), rain blends into the steam of the onrushing train, as the river Thames glows beneath a brick bridge at Maidenhead. In his effort to focus on the interplay between light and its surrounding atmosphere, the painting hazily veers towards abstraction. It was a painting that would influence the Impressionists thirty years later. 

View all images by J.M.W.Turner for licensing

 

Rain Steam and Speed, The Great Western Railway, (detail) painted before 1844 by J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) / National Gallery, London, UK
Rain Steam and Speed, The Great Western Railway, (detail) painted before 1844 by J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) / National Gallery, London, UK

 

 

Find out more 

Mr Turner: watch the first trailer of Mike Leigh's JMW Turner biopic
Release Date: 31 October 2014 (UK)


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