Monday, November 14, 2011

The history of painting: Juliet and her nurse

The painting is one of the most elaborately organized in terms of architectural structure and –perspective. With its birds’ eye view and panoptic involvement of St Mark’s Square and its surroundings.

It took only six minutes for Sotheby’s US chairman John Marion to knock down Joseph Mallord William Turner’s Juliet and Her Nurse in May 30, 1980 for $6.4 million.

This painting was put up for auction, after passing through 8 previous owners, including Turner himself.  It is the highest price ever paid painting at that time.

Exhibited at the Royal Academy early in 1836, 'Juliet and her Nurse' became the subject of a vicious attack by the Reverend John Eagles in an article published in 'Blackwood's Magazine' later in the year.

Eagles wrote that the picture was 'a strange jumble', but one of his chief complaints was that Turner should have chosen to set this scene from 'Romeo and Juliet' in Venice rather than Verona.

No doubt Turner's decision to place Shakespeare's famous heroine in Venice was influenced by the romantic atmosphere of the city; in the foreground she is seen musing on her new-found love.

Turner was recognized as an artist prodigy and his reputation, especially among his fellow artist, was established rapidly as shown by his very early election to the Royal Academy in 1802.

Turner was born in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, England. His father, William Turner (1738–7 August 1829), was a barber and wig maker.

His mother, Mary Marshall, became increasingly mentally unstable, possibly due in part to the early death of Turner's younger sister, Mary Ann Turner, in 1786.
The history of painting: Juliet and her nurse
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