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Museum of the sublime

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WILLIAM TURNER

Caspar David Friedrich

Tate Gallery

Hamburger Kunsthalle

In this work the painter represents a shipwrecked ship and the fundamental intent is to represent the force of nature. In this painting, an emblem of Romanticism, the power of nature is represented which is expressed by the power of the sea waves which are capable of destroying a boat like the one painted inside the painting. What is represented is a hostile, apocalyptic and powerful nature that overwhelms everything around it; it is a destructive nature, but which at the same time retains its great charm and its sublimity. The contrast between man and nature is also symbolically represented: man cannot do anything against the devastating power of nature, he only has to submit to it.

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The sinking of the Minotaur, 1793

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Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

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The slave ship, 1840

These elements make this work, and others belonging to the same phase of Turner's artistic career, one of the most direct precedents of much painting of the second half of the nineteenth century which, from the Impressionists onwards, increasingly abandoned the realistic representation of forms static and defined.

The landscape is nothing but a tumult of light, color and movement that makes the figures and the pictorial space itself vague and indefinite, which seems to extend beyond the perspective limits

About the author

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Joseph Mallord William Turner

William Turner, born in 1775 in London, demonstrated an early artistic talent that led him to enter the Royal Academy of Arts at just fourteen. Renowned for his romantic landscapes, he also distinguished himself as a historical painter. Turner opened his own studio in 1807 and started the Liber Studiorum. Elected professor at the RA, his paintings became brighter and more atmospheric in the 1910s. He traveled in Europe, especially Italy, influencing his art. His production was vast and diverse, including contemporary paintings. He did not stop traveling until his health became poor, even facing problems with alcoholism. He died in 1851 and was buried in London with a solemn funeral. Turner is recognized as an icon of British painting, capable of innovating and influencing subsequent generations.

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"The Sea of ​​Ice" by Caspar David Friedrich depicts the sinking of HMS Griper in the North Sea, with the ship fragmented among icebergs. The landscape, in a romantic style, evokes anxiety and human helplessness. Friedrich transforms the historical event into a metaphor of human fragility in the face of nature and divine eternity. The work reflects the human obsession with exploration and can be interpreted as a political allusion to post-Napoleonic Germany.

the sea of ice, 1823

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The Wanderer on the Sea of ​​Fog, 1818

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The solitary wanderer evokes a sense of introversion and spiritual quest, like a pilgrim in search of answers. Friedrich uses fog to amplify the power of the imagination, making the landscape more transcendental and undefined. "The Wanderer on the Sea of ​​Fog" expresses the human search for meaning and the feeling of smallness in the face of the greatness of nature.

The painting "The Wanderer on the Sea of ​​Fog" by Caspar David Friedrich presents the human being in the foreground, a rarity in the artist's work. The man from behind, strongly characterized by the movement of his hair and his overcoat, stands on top of a cliff, looking at the panorama in front of him.

About the author

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Caspar David Friedrich

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Caspar David Friedrich, born in 1774 in Greifswald, left an indelible mark on German Romantic art. After training at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen in 1794, he moved to Dresden in 1798 and consolidated his artistic position with exhibition at the Academy the following year.The 1820s saw the turning point of his career with commissions from Tsar Nicholas I. However, in 1835 a serious illness forced him to abandon painting . His death in 1840 in Dresden led to a period of oblivion, but his work returned to attention in the 20th century. Friedrich, one of the most illustrious German Romantic painters, was known for his artistic idealism and his expression rich in feeling and realism.

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The white cliffs of Rügen

1818

Sea port with the embarkation of the Queen of Sheba

1648

1812

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Blizzard

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Federica Buonfrate

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