The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up

Joseph Mallord William Turner • Painting, 1839, 90.8×121.9 cm
Digital copy: 3.0 MB
5684 × 4226 px • JPEG
47.4 × 35.3 cm • 304 dpi
96.2 × 71.6 cm • 150 dpi
48.1 × 35.8 cm • 300 dpi
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About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Landscape, Marina, Historical scene
Style of art: Romanticism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1839
Size: 90.8×121.9 cm
Artwork in collection: Smart and Beautiful Natalya Kandaurova
Artwork in selections: 82 selections
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Exhibitions history
Turner's modern world
October 28, 2020 − March 7, 2021
Tate Britain, Milbank

Description of the artwork «The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up»

Last voyage of the frigate "Brave" was not heroic. The vehicle involved in the battle of Trafalgar small tugs pulled the shipyard in Rotherhithe – to be scrapped, in the graveyard of ships.

In fact, "Brave" was yellow and black, but Turner easily sacrificed historical truth for the sake of his desired artistic effect. White-fawn stately frigate seems unreal, woven of haze, clouds and light. Closing his little black tug is a very real, reliable and tangible. The ship is pulled by two ropes, but this detail Turner is also ignored: one of the ropes that bind shining translucent frigate and thick, stocky silhouette of a tow, reinforces the impression of inevitability. Rising above on the right is filled with wind sails reminiscent of the past glory of the frigate, and coming from the chimney of the towing vehicle smoke covers the place, which was earlier developed British flag. But the frigate was gone.

Nondescript busily shining the tug pulls the ship to the Parking lot, indicated by a black buoy (right). It is matte, absorbing the darkness contrasts with the flowing rays of light, reflections of the sun and the white freighter. The buoy seems to be a black hole like a magnet attracting to itself the frigate.

Turner showed a picture at the Royal Academy in 1839. The audience could not solve the sunset or the dawn portrayed the artist. Deity Turner – the sun – here an important role. And the answer to the question is obvious on the General mood of the picture. What kind of dawn can be a speech? Sunset, sunset shining frigate "Brave", the sunset just whose time has gone. However, if you look over the frigate on the left you can see the thin Crescent of a new moon, which can symbolize the birth of a new era. Sunset sailers, Yes, but sunrise of steam ships.

About the sun, sky and water, it is sufficient to say that they are very "ternerovsky", that is, to put it simply is a masterpiece. The shining, diffused in space, happiness is the perfect creation of nature – regardless of the mood which the artist portrays – the ineffable modulations, gradients of light and color are fully represented in this picture. The genius of Turner-colorist is expressed to the maximum, the picture is radiant, it is not about earthly story, it's about the light that was and will ever be, and for whom any plot is just a decoration. Turner was not a religious man in the conventional sense of the word. According to one legend, his last words were: "God is the sun". This picture is a weighty argument in favor of his faith.

The painting "Last voyage of the frigate "Brave" was adopted by the public and critics with enthusiasm and enthusiasm. She mitigated the negative impression made by some is too abstract (though then did not call them so) turners. It again proclaimed a genius, and, as we now would say, fan, and promoter William Turner John Ruskin stated that this work was "the last is absolutely perfect picture of all of them is written". Could appreciate the work of William Makepeace Thackeray then famous writer, a little-known journalist. He wrote in the review: "Frigate "Brave" is the best thing that ever graced the walls of any Academy, or came with the easel of any painter".

Sam Turner, apparently, was also satisfied with this work. He refused all attempts to buy it. The walls of his workshop "Frigate" is left only for the academic exhibitions.

Author: Alain Esaulova