47) The fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up.
by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851
The son of a barber, Turners mother died in an insane asylum. At age ten he was sent to be raised by an uncle. Showing an early talent for art he entered the Royal Academy school at fourteen years old. Turner traveled extensively in France and Italy to study the masters. The painting above is one of his best known and is typical of his style. He liked to paint wild effects of weather and use brilliant and exotic color schemes. He often chose to make his subject obscured or even near impossible to decipher, as his paintings are often full of swirling color and have strange tilted vantage points. He is particularly popular today as his work is seen as a precursor to modern or expressionist painting. Many of his paintings are enormous.
48) Keelmen heaving coals by night. Someone asked me in the comments if this was really a list of paintings an artist should know or of painters an artist should know. I guess it is more the latter. I am selecting the artists and the finding either a well known painting by the artist or my particular favorites. Perhaps I could have called the series "some really cool paintings by dead people". There are so many grand and important Turners that it was particularly hard to choose among them. I thought that the silvery tone of this picture would better show his coloristic range than only brightly colored examples.
49) Hannibal and his army crossing the Alps. This is more about some wild weather effects than Hannibal, I don't see any elephants, do you? Part of the reason that Turners paintings look the way they do is because he used a lot of transparent effects. Turner was a crack watercolorist and he brought some of that transparent technology to his oils.
Turner was an eccentric and never married. He did have several long term relationships. His father lived with him for thirty years and upon his fathers death he descended into depression.
Below is an example of one of his many watercolors. Surprisingly for a painter of such abstract pictures where the subject is so obscured, Turner was an excellent draftsman and drew architecture exceedingly well. In fact he taught perspective and architectural drawing for the Academy.
Turner is one of the most important and early British watercolorists. His influence on that medium was enormous and watercolor is probably more important in English painting than anywhere else. I could do a series of posts on English watercolourists there were so many excellent practitioners.
Below: The Welsh bridge at Shrewsbury. I wonder if that still exists, what a location. if any of you English readers know, will you tell me? I have had a lot of information provided to this blog by English painters, and it is in deference to them that I have used the English spelling watercolourists in the preceding paragraph.