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Posts Tagged ‘JMW Turner’


Posted 21 April 2015 by Kat

Meet J.M.W Turner (the J.M.W stands for Joseph Mallord William by the way), he was born in London in 1775, his dad was a barber and many people consider him the first modern painter! The art critic, John Ruskin said he was ‘the greatest of the age’. Let’s see what you think!

J.M.W Turner, Self-Portrait c.1799 c. Tate

J.M.W Turner, Self-Portrait c.1799 c. Tate

Turner was a landscape painter, traveller, poet and teacher. When he was just fourteen years old he became a student at the Royal Academy of Art in London.

There is a famous story about Turner that he once had himself tied to the mast of a ship during a very bad storm so that he could experience what it was like to have the waves crashing about him. No one really knows if this is true, but we like the story because Turner was such an extraordinary artist it sounds just the sort of thing he would do.

Now the reason Turner was so extraordinary was because he liked to paint ‘plein air’, which means out in the open. Which was unusual, because in Turner’s day, artists painted in their studios. Turner would take his paints and his canvas and paint what he saw. He did this at different times of the day and in all weathers. He painted sunrises, sunsets, mist, rain and snow. Which is why he is sometimes called the painter of light. He wanted to experience the terrible beauty of nature. And it is for this reason he is known as a Romantic artist.

He painted great moments in history and fantastic stories, which often challenged the styles of older painters. Turner was known as “the painter of light”. Lots of Turner’s paintings are romantic and dream-like. Many of Turner’s later artworks resemble the Impressionist style of painting which happened in France in the years to come. Can you see how they are similar?

J.M.W Turner, Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus exhibited 1839, c. Tate

J.M.W Turner, Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus, exhibited 1839, c. Tate

He also made dark, epic paintings, which had great atmosphere, like the below artwork Snow Storm: Hannibal  and his Army Crossing the Alps. Do you prefer his light or dark paintings?

J.M.W Turner, Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps exhibited 1812, c. Tate

J.M.W Turner, Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps, exhibited 1812, c. Tate

Even when he was older, Turner was a radical artist. He painted scenes which commented on the government at the time. He also painted new industries and technology, like ships and trains.

J.M.W Turner, Steamer and Lightship; a study for ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ c.1838–9 c Tate

J.M.W Turner, Steamer and Lightship; a study for ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ c.1838–9 c Tate

What do you think he would paint today to show new technology?

Turner still inspires modern artists. Olafur Eliasson has recently made Turner Colour Experiments which look at the colour and atmosphere in Turner’s paintings. This one is inspired by one of Turner’s first oil paintings, Fishermen at Sea. Can you see the similar colours in both of them? Which one do you prefer? Do they both make you feel the same?

Olafur Eliasson Colour experiment no. 60 2014 © 2013 Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson
Colour experiment no. 60 2014
© 2013 Olafur Eliasson

J.M.W Turner, Fishermen at Sea, exhibited 1796 c. Tate

J.M.W Turner, Fishermen at Sea, exhibited 1796 c. Tate

We have a Discovering Turner game and a Tate Create, all just a click away to make your own great Turner-inspired creations. We just think Turner is great! What do you think?

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Digital Kit: Re-Imagining Landscapes

Posted 9 February 2015 by Kat

Hello there! How are those digital skills of yours? Fancy making a digital world from the amazing works of art in the Tate collection? Now’s your chance – with the help of wonderful artist and illustrator Luca Damiani!

LucaMDamiani_Re-ImaginingLandscapes_TateKids_Image_00 copy

We’ve called this activity Re-Imagining Landscapes where you can develop your own illustrations, construct colours and drawings and use your unique approach to change some of the most famous landscape paintings!

Sounds complicated! Not so. This is a tool-kit that will allow you to experiment with personal drawings and learn about art and design.

We have some questions (and some answers!) for you before you get started!

What is a collage?

What does a landscape looks like?

What does composition means?

The Re-Imagining Landscapes kit will show you how to discover the Tate collection and how to create your piece of digital artwork! We will show you how we created the above artwork step by step; in this way you can see how to make your own!

Step 1: Before we start working, create a folder “MyLandscape” on your desktop. This is important as that folder will contain and collect all your art material!

Step_01 copy_final

Step 2:  Search the Tate Collection online and look for landscapes and paintings that you might like and that you might want to change. Explore the digital archive of Tate Britain and Tate Modern. Remember to insert your search-word (i.e. Turner; mountains; nature or whatever you might want to find) before you start your investigation! Maybe you would be interested in re-imagining a painting from Turner?

Step 3: Once you have found the painting that you want to re-imagine and change, click on it; this will open in a new page. Drag and drop the painting-image into your folder. This is the painting I wanted to use.


Step 4: It is now time to reflect on how you might want to transform and change the original painting you chose. What do you imagine to be in it? Start thinking about it; perhaps chat with your friends and family too! What could you draw in order to create an exciting new artwork?? Think about the buildings and characters that could be in the painting…


Step 5: If you know what you would like to create, it is now time to draw! And don’t worry, you don’t need to have a full clear idea, remember that you can discover and play with new ideas during the process too! Take your super creative pencil and let the drawing begin. This is my super creative pencil.


Step 6: Once you have created a drawing, it is now time to scan it. Ask your parents or teachers to help you out with this!

These are some of my scanned drawings:


                                                 Can you see them (or part of them…) in the original artwork at the top?

Step 7: Once you have scanned all your drawings, rename them as “SubjectDrawing_Image” (i.e. Dog_Image if you created a dog; Cat_Image if you designed a cat; Tree_Image_01 if you constructed more than one tree; etc). It is very important that you rename all your drawings, and then it is even more important that you copy them into your MyLandscape folder. Keep things tidy and easy to find (you might want to create a folder “Material” inside your folder and copy the drawings there too).


Step 8: Now it is time to work with your digital software. Open Photoshop or any other software for digital image-making you might have (I quite like Paint too!). Once your software is ready, go to “File → Open” and then select the original painting from your MyLandscape folder. You will have something like this:


Step 9: Now, go to yourMyLandscape → Material” folder and drag and drop one of your images on top of the digital working desk. You will have something like this:


Step 10:  I believe you might know how to use the basic tools of Photoshop – if not, ask your Art teacher or parent for some help! You now need to edit (i.e. move and/or resize and/or crop) your drawing in order to fit it into your landscape painting. Keep your layer box (on the right hand-side) ordered; use the correct naming of the layers to reflect the drawings (i.e. the dog drawing will be called Dog as a layer; the cat drawing will be called Cat as a layer; the collection of trees will be called Tree_01, Tree_02 and Tree_03 for example, perhaps even inserting these layers into a Layer-folder called Trees if you want to). Check with your Art teacher for some help if you need to. Below is a resize, a crop and an edit of one of my images.


As you can notice, I have scaled my drawing, I have cut the pavement and I then duplicated parts of the wall/bricks in order to construct the building on the left.

I have also taken out the colour from the original painting, leaving it in black & white (but that is up to you!).

Step 11: Now add all your other elements. Below is an animation to show the various phases of construction of my Re-imagining Landscapes image.


Step 12: Once you have your final image, save it!


Go to “File → Save as” and save it as a Photoshop file first. In this way you do not lose all your hard work. Then go again to “File → Save as” and save your image as Jpg file, naming it “YourName_Re-imagining Landscapes”. You are now ready to submit your artwork to the Tate Kids site! Upload it to My Gallery, email it it to kids@tate.org.uk or a parent or teacher can tweet us!

We haven’t done any digital skills activities like this before, so let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Posted 6 May 2010 by Hannah

Look at the scene in JMW Turner’s The Northampton Election. People are filling the streets, waving banners and flags, all in aid of an election. This painting was painted over 160 years ago, but elections are still very important to the British people.

Today is a very important day, and everyone should make the most of it! Maybe your school has been closed to turn it into a polling station, where people place their votes? If you’re off school, have fun – and everyone should remind all the grown-ups you know to get out there and vote!


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