|Whalers ca. 1845|
To the cognoscenti, who know a thing or two about these paintings, there is the glimmer of recognition that Turner's paintings inspired the epic story, Moby Dick.
The quartet of paintings---comprising the Met's Whalers (circa. 1845) and its three companions from Tate Britain---were among the last seascapes exhibited by Turner, for whom marine subjects were a creative mainstay. The topic of whaling resonated with some of Turner's favorite themes, modern maritime labor, Britain's global naval empire, human ambition and frailty, and the awesome power of nature termed the Sublime.
In addition to the four paintings that are on view, a selection of related watercolors, prints, books, and wall quotes is displayed and offers the insight into Turner's paintings and their possible relationship with Melville's text. A whaling harpoon on loan from the South Street Seaport Museum, and whale oil lamps from The Met's collection are also on view.
The exhibition is accompanied by a Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin entitled Turner's Whaling Pictures written by Alison Hokanson. It is on sale in the Museum's book shop and at the Met store www.metmuseum.org.
Educational programs include a gallery reading of excerpts from Moby Dick on July 8 and a a Picture This! program on June 16 for visitors who are blind or partially blind.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! I suggest that you take along a magnifying glass to view these moody, mysterious paintings and you just might catch a whale or two yourself. Fan mail welcome, I love to hear from my readers firstname.lastname@example.org. To view Polly's Blogs go to www.pollytalk.com and in the left-hand column is a link to other Blogs including visionary men, women determined to succeed, poetry, and fashion.
The image left: W.W. Turner as a young man.