The exhibition "Late Turner – Painting Set Free" surveys the achievements of JMW Turner (1775–1851) during his final period (1835–50). The show demonstrates how his closing years were a time of exceptional energy and vigor, initiated by one of his most extensive tours of Europe. Bringing together 180 works from the UK and abroad, it seeks to challenge assumptions around the idea of the ‘elderly’ artist, as well as his radical techniques, processes and materials during this productive time. The exhibition includes iconic paintings like Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus (Tate), Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino (J. Paul Getty Museum, LA), The Wreck Buoy 1849 (National Museums Liverpool) and watercolours such as Heidelberg: Sunset c.1840 (Manchester City Galleries).
Rather than focusing on any assumptions about the pessimism of old age, Turner maintained his commitment to the observation of nature. He brought renewed energy to the exploration of the social, technological and scientific developments of modern life, in works such as Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway 1844 (National Gallery). He also continued to engage with the religious and historical themes that linked him to the cultural traditions of his era.
Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) was born in London, the son of a barber. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1789 at the age of 14 before becoming a member of the RA in 1802 and Professor of Perspective in 1807. His work was prolific and varied including drawings, prints, watercolours and oils. Throughout his later years he continued to tour Europe, his last trip taking place in 1845. He exhibited his last four pictures at the Royal Academy in 1850 and died in 1851, his body being laid to rest in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) - the Morning after the Deluge - Moses Writing the Book of Genesis 1843 Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Regulus 1837 Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The Blue Rigi, 1841-2 Tate. Purchased with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation and including generous support from David and Susan Gradel, and from other members of the public through the Save the Blue Rigi appeal) Tate Members and other donors 2007
War: The Exile and the Rock Limpet 1842 Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Peace - Burial at Sea 1842 Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino 1839. The J. Paul Getty Museum
Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus 1839Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway 1844 Copyright The National Gallery, London
Installation shots of Late Turner - Painting Set Free Exhibition. Copyright Tate photography
Installation shot of The EY Installation shot from the Exhibition Late Turner - Painting Set Free. Copyright Tate photography