William Turner - The Fighting TéméraireOil on canvas, 1839, 90,7 x 121,6 cm, National Gallery in London

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Description and interpretation of the famous painting 'The Fighting Téméraire' by William Turner!

William Turner - The Fighting Téméraire

A huge warship rises in the left part of the picture before a reddish, powerful sunset. The sun - on the right - stands against the moon, which has already arrived on the upper left. This one is still pale and shy.

Turner was a painter of the industrial revolution, but also associated with the romanticism and motifs of nature. On September 6, 1838, when he and his friend Woodington observed the scrapping of the warship Téméraire from a steamship, he sketched the project into his block and later worked out this painting. The warship was prominent and well known to its contemporaries. It was the first steam-powered combat ship with 98 cannons in 1815 and was used as part of Horatio Nelson's fleet at the famous Battle of Trafalgar. Turner Majestically stages the ship, which is pulled here by a barge in the direction of the viewer. The towboat is the first paddle steamer and was put into operation in 1783. In Rotherhithe is the final landing stage of the Téméraire.

Here Turner's interest in the natural spectacle of an imposing sunset is combined with the historical event, which in a way subordinates itself to it. Many details of the ship suffer from this, which do not exactly correspond to historical events, but reflect an individual impression. With his pasty, radiant and intense colors, Turner also influenced young impressionists.

Although the work was exhibited in 1839, it was deliberately not offered for sale and was bequeathed to the state in the artist's will. It was voted Britain's greatest plant in a BBC survey in 2005.

© the artinspector / alexandra tuschka