Joseph Mallord William TurnerUndine Giving the Ring to Massaniello, Fisherman of Naples exhibited 1846

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Undine Giving the Ring to Massaniello, Fisherman of Naples
Date exhibited 1846
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 791 x 791 mm frame: 943 x 944 x 71 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
N00549

Display caption

The water nymph Undine was born without
a soul. She gains one by marrying a human, but in return has to take on the burdens
of the world. Turner shows her offering
a wedding ring to a fisherman. The story
was written by the German writer Friedrich De La Motte Foucque, though Turner probably knew it from versions on the London stage.

 

This picture, with its square format and sombre colouring, complements Turner's The Angel standing in the Sun, a vision of the Last Judgement (illustrated left; the painting
is on show in room C1). Both paintings represent spiritual power or transformation through a burst of brilliant light.

 

September 2004

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