Joseph Mallord William Turner, RA (baptised 14 May 1775 - 19 December 1851) was a British Romantic landscape painter, water-colourist, and printmaker. Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting.
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- To select, combine and concentrate that which is beautiful in nature and admirable in art is as much the business of the landscape painter in his line as in the other departments of art.
- Turner (around 1810), quoted in: Dennis Hugh Halloran (1970) The Classical Landscape Paintings of J.M.W. Turner. p. 75
- It is necessary to mark the greater from the lesser truth: namely the larger and more liberal idea of nature from the comparatively narrow and confined; namely that which addresses itself to the imagination from that which is solely addressed to the eye.
- Quoted in: Eric Shanes (2012) The Life and Masterworks of J.M.W. Turner, p. 23
- Painting can never show her nose in company with architecture but to have it snubbed.
- indistinctness is my forte.
- From: Walter Thornbury. The Life of J.M.W. Turner,: ... Founded on Letters and Papers Furnished by His Friends and Fellow Academicians. By Walter Thornbury. In Two Volumes, Volume 2. (1862), p. 243
- More full text:
"Unfortunately I met mr. Turner at the Academy a night or two after I received this letter ; and he asked me if I had heard from Mr. Lennox. I was obliged to say ' yes.' ' Well, and how does he like the picture?' 'He thinks it indistinct.' ' You should tell him,' he replied, ' that indistinctness is my forte.'
- If I could find anything blacker than black I'd use it.
- Turner, quoted in: Philip Gilbert Hamerton (1879) The Life of J. M. W. Turner, R. A. p. 296
- Reply after the prominent English marine painter Clarkson Stanfield had complained, that Turner in the painting Peace - Burial at Sea had painted the sails in the steamer as black as he could make them.
- My business is to paint what I see, not what I know is there.
- Turner, quoted in: Donald B. MacCulloch (1927) The Wondrous Isle of Staffa, p. 160
- Alternative quote:
My job is to paint what I see, not what I know
- As quoted in: George Seferis (1999) A Poet's Journal: Days of 1945-1951. p. 105