A radical artist confronts changing times
One of Britain’s greatest artists, J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) lived and worked at the peak of the industrial revolution, when steam replaced sail, machine power replaced manpower, and wars, political unrest, and social reforms transformed society. “Turner’s Modern World” explores how this artist, more than any of his contemporaries, embraced these changes and developed an innovative painting style to better capture the new world.
This landmark exhibition brings together more than 100 paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sketchbooks by Turner, including Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps (1812) from Tate Britain, The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834 (1835) from the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the MFA’s own Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On) (1840). These vivid and dramatic compositions demonstrate Turner’s commitment to depicting the great events and developments of his time, from technological advances to causes such as abolition and political reform.
- Ann and Graham Gund Gallery (Gallery LG31)
J. M. W. Turner, Snow Storm—Steam Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth, 1842
J. M. W. Turner, Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On), 1840
J. M. W. Turner, Venice: The Dogana and San Giorgio Maggiore, 1834
J. M. W. Turner, Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight, 1835
J. M. W. Turner, Venice by Moonlight, with Boats off a Campanile, 1840
J. M. W. Turner, The Battle of Trafalgar, as Seen from the Mizen Starboard Shrouds of the Victory, 1806–8.
J. M. W. Turner, The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834, 1835
J. M. W. Turner, Peace—Burial at Sea, 1842
J. M. W. Turner, The Fall of Anarchy, about 1833–34
J. M. W. Turner, The Northampton Election, 6 December 1830, about 1830–31
J. M. W. Turner, Staffa, Fingal’s Cave, about 1831–32
J. M. W. Turner, Fall of the Rhine at Schaffhausen, about 1805–6
J. M. W. Turner, Venice with the Salute, about 1840–45
J. M. W. Turner, The Field of Waterloo, 1818
J. M. W. Turner, Rockets and Blue Lights (Close at Hand) to Warn Steamboats of Shoal Water, 1840
Audio Tour on MFA Mobile
Hear experts illuminate how Turner forged a bold style that transcends time on MFA Mobile’s free audio tour. Before you visit, download the app onto your smartphone from Apple’s App Store or Google Play, or access it on the web. For the best audio experience in the galleries, remember to bring your ear buds or headphones.