This major exhibition at Palazzo dei Diamanti
celebrates the love affair between the artist J. M.W. Turner (1775-1851) and Italy. Turner and Italy sets out to explore this complex and enduring relationship, and show how Turner became enchanted by the countrys climate, landscapes and architecture; drawing inspiration from them he created some of the greatest images of Romantic art.
The exhibition includes over 100 works, including oil paintings, watercolours, sketchbooks, and books from Turners library which illustrate his fascination with Italy. Spectacular loans from collections in Washington, Philadelphia, Melbourne, Paris and London will feature in the exhibition. It has been created by the National Gallery of Scotland and will travel on an international tour to Hungary.
Turner travelled to Italy seven times, and past exhibitions have considered particular aspects of his Italian work, such as his love of Venice, but this is the first to provide a comprehensive overview and consider the impact it had on his British art. Turner and Italy is the most ambitions Turner exhibition ever shown in Italy, and provides an inspiring introduction to his achievement, through what are arguably the artists most admired works.
Highlights include the artists great Rome from the Vatican (Tate Britain) of 1819, a glowing panorama of the city, which shows Raphael painting in the foreground, and late masterpieces, such as his 1844 Approach to Venice (National Gallery of Art, Washington), which the critic John Ruskin considered
the most perfectly beautiful piece of colour of all that I have seen produced by human hands, by any means, or at any period.
Turners journeys to Italy were made at a time when such travels could take many weeks. The onslaught of mass tourism had not yet begun, and he not only delighted in, but also exploited all he experienced. As an astute businessman as well as ingenious artist, Turner used Italy to inspire the two most successful aspects of his career in Britain: the creation of ambitious oil paintings which were exhibited annually to a startled public, and the production of watercolours that were engraved for publication, so spreading his vision far beyond his immediate audience.
Because Turners enthusiasm for Italy was sustained throughout his career it illustrates all the distinct stages in the stylistic evolution of his work, and the transition he made from early, conventional topographical studies, to the highly charged, emotive, and visionary pictures of his later years. Together the have created a deeply romantic, potent view of Italy which has remained popular ever since.