About this artwork

The city is just visible at the right on the horizon, caught between stormy skies and choppy lagoon water. Colourful washes and brushstrokes combine to capture the atmospheric fusion of the elements in which the buildings almost seems to dissolve. The dark silhouette of a steamer stands out from the sailing boats tossing around in the waves; contrasting the old age of sail with the modern one of steam transport was a theme the artist explored in other works, such 'The Fighting Temeraire' (National Gallery, London). Turner visited Venice three times in 1819, 1833 and 1840. This drawing is characteristic of the studies made during his last visit in 1840.

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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.