Turner And The Barber's Shop Analysis

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I read an interesting essay recently, and I really want to share the story and my understanding with you. In the essay, “Turner and the Barber’s Shop”, John Berger narrates the life and art of Joseph Mallord William Turner who is one of the most important artists in history. Turner was born in London, the son of a barber. “He was a child prodigy” and entered the Royal Academy Schools at fourteen (215). Next, He had his own studio at eighteen, and his father becomes the assistant and factotum. He had very close relation with his father, and the barber’s shop affected his later painting style a lot too. Turner traveled a great deal during his life, “but in most of his chosen themes water, coastlines, or river banks”(214). He recorded those landscapes …show more content…
Collings describes Turner’s painting style in his article “JMW Turner: Master in the making”: “there was a hierarchy: still-life and landscape at the bottom because they had no philosophy, portraits a bit further up because they involved a bit of knowledge of human character. At the top was history painting - big scenes from real history, or inventions depicting mythological or biblical dramas.” Placing human beings into the landscape by utilizing color and light: this is Turner’s genius of originality. He attempts to express spiritually, rather than a response to optical phenomena. Then, we can see everything, “philosophy, poetry, imagination, skill”, only from a landscape …show more content…
Like Berger said: “ [nature] entered Turner’s work - as violence”(216). Continuity, Berger also summarizes that: “the two aspects of his work, the calm and the turbulent, existed side by side, but gradually the turbulence became more and more dominant”(216). It reminds me the two storms, Calais Pier and Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps, are painted in 1803 and 1812 respectively. The huge difference between those two works is not only in style: the former more inclined to use an accurate and a linear sketch to depict the idealistic ideas, and the latter uses the free stokes and spaces to render a turbulent environment. But also in the artistic concept, that is, how to deal with the problem between nature and

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