Turner, Monet, Twombly: An Unlikely Trio

1700s, 1800s, 1900s. British, French, American. Romanticism, Impressionism, Symbolism. Looking at these stats, one might wonder what J.M.W. Turner, Claude Monet, and Cy Twombly have in common. Frankly, I’m still trying to work it out for myself.

Through the bulk of each of these artists’ careers, it is quite clear that their works have very little to absolutely nothing in common, causing one to wonder how on earth they’ve been grouped together in the first place. However, if you focus on the last twenty or so odd years of each other their lives, I suppose it is possible to see that Turner’s work slowly morphed into Impressionism, whether he intended it that way or not. While Twombly’s works, especially Blooming, delve into Impressionism with a focus on nature, clearly Monet’s forte.

Take these two paintings for example. I suppose one could, with their eyes crossed and squinting, relate Turner’s Rio San Luca to Monet’s San Giorgio (below).

J.M.W. Turner, The Rio San Luca alongside the Palazzo Grimani, with the Church of San Luca, c. 1840.
Gouache, pencil and watercolour on paper, 19.1 x 28.1 cm.
The Tate Gallery, London.
Claude Monet, San Giorgio Maggiore, 1908.
Oil on canvas, 59.2 x 81.2 cm.
National Museum Wales, Cardiff.

And maybe, one could close their left eye while squinting with the right and see the similarities Twombly has to offer, as in his Seasons collection:

Cy Twombly, Quattro Stagioni: Inverno, 1993-1994.
Acrylic, oil, and pencil on canvas, 322.9 x 230 cm.
The Tate Gallery, London.

If you ask me, Twombly should consider himself quite lucky to be grouped with such influential artists, while Turner and Monet should be questioning how this came to be and perhaps looking to sue on the grounds of libel, slander, and defamation. What do you think? Am I the crazy one?

Compare and contrast the works of these prolific artists at Tate Liverpool’s exhibition: Turner Monet Twombly: Later Paintings, on until 28 October 2012. Also, admire the works of Monet and Turner at home with these beautifully illustrated books on their lives and works Turner and Monet, both available in print and ebook format.

-Le Lorrain Andrews

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2 comments

  1. Thank you for your readership and warm compliments, but I could never take credit for these incredible works. If you like them, you should look into books and museums that showcase the works of JMW Turner, Claude Monet, and Cy Twombly, the three artists featured above, each renowned for his impressive style.

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