About this artwork

A bolt of lightning flashes across the Piazzetta viewed from the Grand Canal, illuminating the Doge's Palace, the side and one dome of St Marks and the arcade of the Marciana Library. The statue of St Theodore, the first patron saint of Venice, and the winged lion of St Mark on top of the monolithic columns, tower above people running for cover from the rain. Turner conveys both the drama of the storm and the beauty of the Piazzetta with spectacular scraping off and rubbing into the paper's white surface. This work was made sometime after Turner's second visit to Venice in 1833.

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Joseph Mallord William Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner

Turner transformed the art of landscape painting in Britain. From detailed topographical studies to expansive, atmospheric vistas his works celebrate the diversity and emotive power of nature. He was born in Covent Garden, the son of a barber, and exhibited his earliest sketches in his father's shop before studying at the Royal Academy Schools. Turner became the youngest ever full member of the Royal Academy in 1802. His experimental use of watercolour and oils achieved stunning effects, attracting contemporary criticism and praise. Turner's admiration of past masters, above all Claude Lorraine, and the numerous sketches made on many tours in Britain and abroad, provided the basis for his 'sublime' land and seascapes.

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