This was one of the most exciting Christmas seasons
I'd enjoyed in some time.  It wasn't the presents.  It
wasn't even the "reason for the season."  Actually, I'm
low church enough that I don't subscribe to a church
calendar.  

It's a certain British painter,
JMW Turner, whom I
discovered when I was in college in connection with the
British poet
Lord Byron.  Turner and Byron were
contemporaries and were aware of and appreciated
each other.  They explored some of the same themes in
their work.

Turner was born in London in 1775.  Showing early
promise as an artist, he entered the Royal Academy
Schools at age 14.   He worked briefly painting scenery
for the Pantheon Opera House, and went on to elevate
landscape painting to a high art.  

Although mostly known for his oil paintings, he was
also one of the masters of British watercolor landscape
painting.  But gradually, his landscapes became
divorced from nature and were noted for a loose,
luminous brushwork that anticipated Impressionism.  

As an English major, I studied Byron and met Turner
through him.  I've always enjoyed combining art and  
literature by theme and period.  But the Romantic period,
when Byron wrote and Turner painted, has been out of
fashion for some time, and I've had to explore my interests on
my own.

Recently, however, things have changed.  With the release of
Mike Leigh's movie, Mr. Turner, and the exhibit of Turner's
paintings from the Tate Gallery in London to be displayed at
the Getty Museum starting February 24, I've been coming
across articles on Turner on a regular basis, in the
Los
Angeles Times
and online.  

Our daughter sent Frank and me to the movie the Sunday
before Christmas.  The 2015 calendar that hangs in my office
is illustrated with prints of "The Art of JMW Turner " from the
Tate.  I can't remembered when I've been so excited about a
cultural phenomenon.

Other articles in this website treat the
Industrial Revolution,
that transition that ended the Romantic period and greatly
influenced Turner's work;
Mr. Turner, the Movie; and the Getty
Exhibit.  I hope you enjoy them half as much as I've enjoyed
sharing them with you, and that you'll write me with your
reactions at
b.silvey@sbcglobal.net.
January 2015
Billie Silvey
An eclectic website about Women, Christianity, History, Culture and
the Arts--and anything else that comes to mind.
JMW Turner
JMW Turner (below) as a young man.  His painting
of the
Snowstorm (left).