Turner, one of the great English artists, is to be found abroad this summer, the focus of a major exhibition at Madrid's Prado Museum which will include not only major works by Turner himself, but also some by his artistic rivals and others by painters he admired.
An English ship in a north-west gale trying to beat windward, Willem van de Velde the Younger
After showing in London and Paris, the exhibition entitled Turner and the masters has arrived in the Spanish capital, at the Prado museum, with some 80 paintings, including 42 works by the great landscape artist of London, most of which have never before been seen in Spain. A tour of the exhibit reveals Turner's links with other great artists of historical note, including Claude Lorraine, Rubens, Rembrandt, Watteau, Canaletto and Titian, the influence they had on him and the rivalry he had with some of them.
The exhibition traces the development of Turner, who, born of humble origins in the late seventeenth, developed his own style based on a deep study of the Old Masters as well as being influenced by Dutch and Flemish art. He went on to become one of the greatest European landscape artists, besides being a clear precursor of impressionism and abstraction.
Among the selection on display in the Prado are Shipwreck of a cargo boat, Snowstorm: Hannibal and his army crossing the Alps, and Peace - burial at sea. Not to be missed are the oils from the final period of the artist's career, in which he achieves a profoundly personal expression without losing his references to the traditional schools.
The works of other painters in the exhibition are also a fine selection, and include many paintings unseen before in Spain, including Girl at the window by Rembrandt, and Les plaisirs du bal by Watteau, both loaned from Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. There are also major canvases by Claude Lorraine and Rubens, Port Scene with the Embarkation of Saint Ursula (London, National Gallery), and Landscape with a cart at dusk (Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen). One particularly fine piece that is only included in the exhibition while it is in the Spanish capital is An English ship in a north-west gale trying to beat windward (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London) by the 17th-century, English-based Dutch painter Willem van de Velde the Younger.