Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Fighting Temeraire

JMW Turner, The Fighting Temeraire

This painting is stunning for many different reasons. The lighting on the ship is what first captures my attention. The soft edges of the ship connect well with the softness of the clouds in the sky. The light contrast between the burnt orange sunset and the light blue sky creates a calming mood and draws the eye to the right side of the painting. Another strong factor is the way Turner used color differentiation to create lines of perspective, as opposed to an actual structured line.

Another reason I chose this painting was for the way Turner showed how beautiful "the end" could be. This is supposed to show the end of the last journey of The Temeraire. As soon as the ship was close enough to the shore it was to be destroyed. The overall tranquil mood of the painting is seemingly opposite of what one would assume the mood might be in a situation where workers are about to destroy a man made object. To me, the ship's end can be used to shadow the end of an individual's life; to show how death is not a scary thing, but a beautiful stop in the course of nature. The haziness of the ship and the clouds help create an exestential connection between nature and man made creations. It shows how both man and nature not only affect each other, but also depend on each other, as well.


  1. Another beautiful painting by Turner. I'm continually impressed with how well he rendered water, as well as the history behind the pieces.

  2. I know. I had seen a few of his pieces before Alison showed us the few in class, and I just fell in love with his work even more. It's amazing how well he captures the stillness of the time and in other paintings the chaos of what's going on.

  3. I agree, the effect of the water is amazing, and the sunset is absolutely beautiful! Nice painting you picked to analyze.