Turner’s watercolors on display at Chiostro del Bramante
Exhibits such as this are often times some of the most difficult to both interpret and discuss. J.M.W. Turner said “indistinctiveness is my forte” and that is something that is highly emphasized in this collection of landscape watercolors from both his public works and private sketches. One of the greatest beauties of art is that it has the ability to transport us to other worlds and get a glimpse of reality from a perspective often different from our own.
What I loved the most about this exhibit is that the soft, often indistinctive, paintings resemble the imagery of a personal memory. Turner has the ability to beautifully capture the tone, light, colors, and all the essential factors in watercolor that make an image feel raw. When walking through an exhibit of paintings, there are hundreds of interpretations for each work, and the same goes for this one. However, instead of the common feeling of confusion and detachment when analyzing such ‘high-brow’ work, Turner infuses so much humanity into each work that it is almost impossible to not relate.
Only through tireless attempts of trying to capture in words what it is that makes each piece so special did I realize that what truly makes them special are the feelings they evoke. Today’s society is obsessed with experiences. Many of us are striving to live our lives through lenses we see in movies, television, and art and Turner’s watercolors enable us to connect ourselves to these experiences. Personal memories of grasslands, oceans, and mountains are things that everyone can relate to. If we were living in 19th Century London, we would all know what the River Thames looks like, we would all have seen a boat out at sea, or a mountain in the distance.
These are not illustrations of uncommon or unattainable views. Therefore, it is very easy to see yourself in each painting and interpret each image with the feelings and emotions with that of a personal memory you have of, let’s say, strolling past a river on a fairly bright afternoon. Although that may seem easy to do that is not the case; in order to evoke emotion you must invoke it into your work, and Turner does that magnificently.
Chiostro del Bramante
Arco della Pace, 5 (Piazza Navona)
Till 26 August 2018
Mon-Sun 10am – 8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-9pm
Entry fee: €12-14
(Italian audio guide included in the price)