TURNER, Joseph Mallord William
(b. 1775, London, d. 1851, Chelsea)
San Giorgio Maggiore at Dawn1819
Watercolour, 224 x 287 mm
Tate Gallery, London
No other Romantic artist was as radical in his depiction of atmospheric phenomena as Turner, who was responsible for taking the British watercolour tradition of the 18th century into the modern era. His watercolours of Venice, painted during his first journey to Italy, amount to a minor revolution, in which the artist recreated the fleeting impressions of a passing moment with the most sparing of means by using pure, transparent surfaces of colour. The coloured background was composed of various layers, each applied while the previous one was still wet.