JMW Turner’s radical square paintings will be displayed together for the first time in Tate Britain’s forthcoming major survey of the artist’s work during his final period
The nine finished square oil paintings will be shown together in a dedicated room of the forthcoming The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free at Tate Britain. Opening in September 2014, the show will bring new perpectives to Turner’s work made during the final period of his life, between 1835 and 1850. At the time of their creation Turner’s square canvases were his most controversial and were famously subjected to abuse in the press. Even John Ruskin, a devoted fan, described Turner’s work by 1846 as ‘indicative of mental disease.’ The show will reposition Turner in his old age as a challenging and daring artist who continued his lifelong engagement with the changing world around him right up until his death in 1851.
Sam Smiles, Professor of Art History and Visual Culture, Exeter University, and co-curator of The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to bring JMW Turner’s finished square canvases together in a single room for the very first time, almost like a show within a show. What Turner does in these paintings is unique, exploiting shape and format to a particular end. Exhibiting shaped canvases was a new departure for the artist, and they show us that he continued to innovate even in his final years. The world around Turner was changing and he was changing with it.’
The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free opens at Tate Britain on 10 September 2014 until 25 January 2015.
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