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William Turner: The Sun is God

Have you ever looked deep into the horizon over the golden shimmers of the sea with the breeze caressing your ears and at dusk when the Sun goes down, the sea and the sky both turn into an abyss, an abyss so deep with the walls of darkness slowly closing around your own self, staring deep inside, and you realise that it has become a part of you and you are yourself no more, you are the breeze, you are the darkness, you are the abyss from the depths of the sea to the dome of the sky like an arch above the horizon completed by its reflection and only a grain of gold at dawn from its centre emanating it's existence like God, with his glory uniting the heaven and sea.

Joseph Mallord William Turner (23 April 1775) was born in Covent Garden, London to a lower middle class family. His father was a barber and a wig maker. He proudly once said to the artist Thomas Stothard that "My son, Sir, is going to be a painter". His younger sister, Mary Ann, died when she was five years old and his mother showed signs of mental disturbance and was moved to the mental asylum where she died a few years later.

Turner entered the Royal Academy of Art. He at first showed interest in architecture but was advised by Thomas Hardwick to focus on painting. His works included drawings, sketches, human body from nude models. In 1793,he showed the watercolor titled 'The Rising Squall-hot wells' (now lost) for which Cunningham in his obituary of Turner wrote that it was "recognised by the wiser few as a notable attempt at lifting landscape art out of the tame insipidities... "

His first oil painting 'Fishermen at the sea' of nocturnal moonlit scene of the needless off the Isle of Wight, an image of boats in peril looks like an eye opened at the sea altogether.

As Turner grew older, he became more and more eccentric and his father's death had a profound effect on him and thereafter he was subject to bouts of depression. He never married but had a relationship with an older widow, Sarah Danby and is believed to be the father of her two daughters. He formed a relationship with Sophia Caroline Booth after her second husband died. He lived with her for 18 years and died of cholera. Apparently his last words were "The Sun is God".

Peace burial
The burning of the houses
The Fighting Temeraire

He drew inspiration from fires, storms, shipwrecks, and various moods of the sea and landscapes fashioning abstraction into clarity, turmoil into vision, gasps into peace.


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