I was in London last week and used it as an opportunity to reacquaint myself with the artwork of JMW Turner, a British artist that I learned about the last time I was in England. In particular, I love his use of light and dark in his paintings. While wandering through the National Gallery, I found a few of his paintings, including this month’s Painting of the Month, and enjoyed seeing the striking patterns in the skies of his seascapes. I continued wandering through the galleries, taking the approach of walking into a room, doing a quick scan of the paintings and only looking at the ones that caught my eye for some reason. When I walked into one room, I was struck by the luminous quality of the light in one painting; it was a sunrise that reminded me of how Turner would approach a similar subject. It was a 15th century French painter named Claude that I had never heard of before. I was surprised I knew nothing about him, because his paintings grabbed my eye so readily while just walking through the room.
A few minutes later, I walked into a small antechamber that had four paintings in it. Two by Turner, and two by Claude. And it turns out that Turner had left his collection of paintings to the British Government, and, in particular, made it part of his bequest that these two paintings of his were to be hung in a room with two paintings by Claude, because Turner admired Claude’s work so much. I was very much pleased with myself to have observed a connection between the artists before having it confirmed. It made me feel all cultured and stuff. So I figured I would share that with y’all.