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Curator Talk: Turner’s Modern World at Tate Britain

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Hear James Finch, assistant curator of 19th century British art at Tate Britain, exploring how J.M.W Turner broke with convention to paint his changing times. This event was broadcast on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

We’ve missed our Times+ sell-out private view events, so here is your chance to enjoy online the type of curator talk which would usually feature at the beginning of our gallery events. 

Tate Britain’s landmark exhibition, Turners Modern World has been extended to Sunday, September 12 and brings together 150 key works, including major loans as well as paintings and rarely seen drawings from the rich holdings of Tate’s collection. Turner’s Modern World reveals how Britain’s greatest landscape painter found new ways to capture the momentous events of his day, from technology’s impact on the natural world to the dizzying effects of modernisation on society.

Turner lived through turbulent times. Britain was at war for much of his life, while revolutions and independence struggles took place around the world. He witnessed the explosion of finance capitalism as well as the transition from sail to steam and from manpower to mechanisation. Political reform as well as scientific and cultural advances transformed society and shaped the modern world. Living and working at the peak of the industrial revolution, Turner faced up to these new challenges when many other artists did not. Starting in the 1790s when Turner first observed contemporary life as a young painter, the exhibition explores his fascination for industry and infrastructure as new elements of Britain’s landscape. 

 

 

 

Credit line: J. M. W. Turner, The Fighting 'Temeraire', Tugged to her Last Berth to be Broken Up 1838 exhibited 1839 (detail) The National Gallery, London. Turner Bequest, 185