The English painter J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851) is hailed as one of the greatest genius in the world of landscape painting of 19th century. His paintings fully reveal his love for the sea. From 1795 to 1810, he honed his ability to represent sea in the most realistic and original manner. At the tender age of 15, he came to limelight as a child prodigy after his painting was displayed at Royal Academy---no less than an accolade for young Turner. He is well-known for his instinctive ability to render sea with all its burst marked by varied weather conditions and light.
The link between his work and that of the French impressionists is palpable, and their debt to his art has been recognized, but that the brilliance of colour in the English Pre-Raphaelites for which Tuner should praised is rarely acknowledged. Through these two movements namely English and French, so dissimilar with each other in many aspects, his influence has become an integral part of the universal heritage of modern painting. What distinguishes Turner from his contemporaries is his ability to wend his own way.
Sheerness as Seen from the Nore, exhibited at his own gallery in 1808, holds it unique position as the most ingenuous and imaginative creation of his early artistic life. The beam of the sun dominates the scene amid distant ships being silhouetted against the horizon. The image of guard ship creates an aura of repose in the turbulent water.
The painting shows the view of naval and merchant anchorage at the convergence of the rivers. It seems that Turner must have observed the scene from a fishing boat similar to that depicted in the foreground of the painting. The sun rises impressively, carving a scintillating path across the irregular waves. The glimmering shore of Kentish town of Sheerness makes itself evident. The channel and peak of the sea appear amid turbulence. On the whole, it depicts an envisioned picture of fishermen’s life and their activities.
By focusing on the dark sails he silhouettes it against the lighter ships behind which indicate the brisk activity on this stretch of water as the sunlight emanates from above the heavily scumbled and embanked clouds.(Longhurst)
Turner’s handling of brush and details of the scene creates an effect of a roaring sea with the irregular movements of the boats. One contemporary observer of Turner at work described the artist´s idiosyncratic method of painting in oils. "He began by pouring wet paint till it [the paper] was saturated, he tore, he scratched, he scrubbed at it in a kind of frenzy and the whole thing was chaos—but gradually and as if by magic the lovely ship, with all its exquisite minutia, came into being and by luncheon time the drawing was taken down in triumph."(Eitner)
With the passage of time, Turner´s paintings became immensely vivid due to his direct exposure to Mediterranean light. Turner is widely acclaimed as the greatest and most universal of British painters, and an influential figure in the history of modern painting. He took the initiative of landscape painting and took it to the heights of eminence. He produced over 2000 paintings and drawings in his lifetime.
Turner's range and grasp over his subject-matter is complete. The entire range of nature that he portrays is marked by its richness and variety. He can never be termed as simple narrator or recorder of fact. He comes up with his own visions that usually emanate from distant and vague memories.
Jean-Baptiste-Camille- Corot was a leading French painter who belonged to the Barbizon school.
He is considered as a key figure in the art of landscape painting. At the same time, his work includes allusions to the Neo-Classical tradition. Corot treated his landscapes more traditionally than is usually assumed. If his painting is compared to that of Claude Lorrain, there can be traced different similarities between them. However, Corot’s palette is much more restrained than the Impressionists who succeeded him as brown and black colors dominate his paintings with dark and silvery green used sometimes. It should be noted that the abovementioned colors that Corot used were dubbed as forbidden colors among the Impressionists.
The large landscape named Clearing in the Forest of Fontainebleau that he displayed was awarded a second-class meal. Despite being rapid and spontaneous, he still managed to keep his strokes carefully executed and controlled. He composed well-deliberated, concise, and simple picture in order to heighten the lyrical and poetic response of the imagery. Of him Claude Monet exclaimed "There is only one master here—Corot. We are nothing compared to him, nothing."(Tinterow) He refrained from using extremely vivid hues and colors.
Corot produced a quantity of distinguished figure works. The setting of his painting is usually rural calling for details and nuances. His paintings can also be described as meditative lyrical poems. Several of these are good arrangements, and in each cases the coloration is extraordinary for its effectiveness and purity. Corot also accomplished numerous etchings and pencil studies.
In the 1860s, Corot developed his interest in photography, taking photos himself and becoming acquainted with many early photographers, due to which his painting palette took the semblance of photographs.
This led to his painting becoming more poetic but less dramatic allowing some critics to accuse his paintings of monotony and commonplace. This was the time when Corot was also amalgamating peasant figures with mythological ones, Neoclassicism with Realism.
The very idea of modernity that permeates much of Monet's art, the familiar elegance of Degas's, the incessant experimentation that characterizes both these oeuvres seem to be completely at odds with Corot's introspective vision of an eternal, unchanging Arcadia - or what some call his monotonous views of Ville-d'Avray. Reading further, one gets to know that in the late 1920s and early 1930s both the painters Jacques Emile Blanche and the historian Alfred Barr, founder of New York's Museum of Modern Art, believed that Corot's impact on twentieth-century art would rival Cezanne's.
He may be treated as an unlikely role model for contemporary painters, but he still has a blend of technical virtuosity to win over the hearts of his critics. Corot’s mix of the classical, the painterly and the naturalistic defies contemporary artists. He was also admired and savored by preceding artists such as such as Picasso, Matisse and Eilshemius, Moreover, Corot’s paintings remains exemplary serving as guidebook to the upcoming generations of artists.
In later life, Corot's studio was swarmed with students, models, friends, collectors, and dealers who came and went under the tolerant eye of the master, making him feel alive. Despite great success and appreciation among artists, collectors, and the more generous critics, his many friends considered, nevertheless, that he was officially neglected, and in 1874, a short time before his death, they presented him with a gold medal to honor his services and contribution to the modern painting.
Eitner, Lorenz, “An Outline of 19th Century European Painting: From David Cezanne” 1992, Westview Press, 700 pages
Gary Tinterow, “Corot”, Abrams, New York, 1996
Longhurst,Paul, Spencer, “The sun rising through vapour:Turner's early seascapes”, 2003, Third Millennium Information Limited, 72 pages