Wednesday, August 13, 2014

JMW Turner, Rockets and Blue Lights (Close at Hand)

Rockets and Blue Lights (Close at Hand) to Warn Steamboats of Shoal Water (1840)

This is one of the first paintings I fell in love with when I started visiting the Clark Art Institute my first year at Williams College.  The swirls of clouds and sea convey the turbulence of the scene, as people stand on the shore, anxiously awaiting the ship's safe passage into port.  This fine example of Turner's late seascapes demonstrates the ecstatic approach that the artist became known for as he moved away from strict realism.  I find the scene breathtaking.

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