Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mr. Turner - The Movie

Mr. Turner, released in December of 2014, was playing at the Plaza Frontenac Landmark Cinema so I managed to get to a 3:30 viewing on Tuesday January 27, 2015. I have long been an admirer of Joseph Mallord William Turner. He was an English Romanticist landscape painter, water-colorist, and printmaker who was considered a controversial figure in his day. He is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting. Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest masters of British watercolor landscape painting. He is commonly known as "the painter of light" and his work is regarded as a Romantic preface to Impressionism. Some of his works are cited as examples of abstract art prior to its recognition in the early twentieth century.  

Written and directed by Mike Leigh, this film explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty. The movie runs 2 hours and 29 minutes.

The photo above was taken at a recent visit to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The movie – not a huge box office draw is, however, a fun movie for an art junky like me.
Leigh's latest offers a portrait of the artist as a fascinating and visionary man of contradictions.


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