Late Turner: Painting Set Free is the first major exhibition to survey the achievements of the last works of J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851). The exhibition reassesses Turner’s extraordinary body of work during his final period (1835–50) when some of his most celebrated works were created.
Beginning in 1835, the year that Turner reached 60, and closing with his last exhibits at the Royal Academy in 1850, the exhibition demonstrates how his closing years were a time of exceptional energy and vigour, initiated by one of his most extensive tours of Europe. Bringing together 150 works from the UK and abroad, it seeks to challenge assumptions around the idea of the ‘elderly’ artist, as well as his radical techniques, processes and materials during this productive time.
The show includes such iconic works as Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus exh. 1839, The Wreck Buoy 1849 and Heidelberg: Sunset c.1840 (Manchester City Galleries). Rather than focusing on any assumptions about the pessimism of old age, Turner maintained his commitment to the observation of nature. He brought renewed energy to the exploration of the social, technological and scientific developments of modern life, in works such as Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway 1844. He also continued to engage with the religious and historical themes that linked him to the cultural traditions of his era.