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Friday, March 01, 2002

Vast new Turner collection goes online

Thousands more images by the artist J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) are now available online thanks to a BT-sponsored initiative by the Tate Gallery in London. This should please Turner-lovers such as myself - I currently use Northam Castle as background wallpaper on my PC. There's now a new version on the Tate site.

Turner is an unusual artist because he combines an emotional and almost mystical approach with a more conventional (and respectable) academic formalism. Technically some people regard him as an early forerunner of the Impressionists, but he was painting a good half-century before them and in a different cultural climate.

The new collection includes all the pages from some 300 sketchbooks found in his studio at the time of his death, as well numerous other watercolours and oil paintings. All told the Tate has around 30,000 Turner images - far too many to exhibit in physical gallery space, which is why it has turned to the web.

As the Tate points out, one reason that we can now regard Turner as a proto-Impressionist is because we have access to versions of his work that his contemporaries would never have seen. This perception is likely to be strengthened by the new material.

All these images are rather daunting, so here are some quick Turner takes from elsewhere on the web.
Three famous images.
14 more.
Yet more with Turner article.


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