Magazine article New Criterion

"Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude"

Magazine article New Criterion

"Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude"

Article excerpt

"Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude"

The National Gallery, London.

March 14-June 5, 2012

In this exhibition the strong link between Claude Gellee dit le Lorrain and J. M. W. Turner is emphasized by placing particular paintings by each of them from a variety of galleries and collections alongside one another to illustrate the former's influence on the latter.

The impact of Claude's pioneering seventeenth-century French landscape paintings on Turner lasted for the whole of the great English painter's career. Turner always wanted to pay homage to Claude, to evoke Claude, and indeed to surpass Claude. In particular he was inspired by Claude's innovative treatment of the effects of light on landscape. In his will, Turner left a large collection of his own paintings to the National Gallery, where this exhibition is held, on the strict condition that they be hung alongside works by Claude. It was both an expression of Turner's intense admiration for the French artist and a way of ensuring his own fame. Those who went to the National Gallery to see Claude's work would perforce have to look at Turner's.

It is now being argued that there is no longer a need for the gallery to adhere strictly to the terms of Turner's bequest since his fame is now securely established. Yet the present exhibition strongly indicates that not to hang Claude and Turner together would not only break the terms of the will, but would also betray Turner's deeper purpose--to remain alongside the artist who had been an inspiration throughout his career.

Claude's greatest appeal lies in his soft dreamy portrayal of the landscapes of the Italian countryside around Rome--Constable called their painter perfect--done with artifice to produce an "imagined reality?' For example, Claude has shifted the position of St. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.