There is nothing that quite casts a spell upon me such as the sea, stunning my senses in an awesome trance with its great mystery and expanse. The sky could contend if only it weren't so punctuated by the cluttering heights of the city- a perspective I cannot escape at sunset moments when I wish I was upon a peak, looking upon its breadth without distraction.
One Sunday of late however, I was treated to both the sea and sky within London at the Greenwich Maritime Museum, which is showcasing J.M.W Turner's fascination with British seascapes, aptly titled 'Turner and the Sea', from now until the 21st of April, 2014.
Turner, one of the UK's most loved and revered artists, used marine painting to transport his audience to dramatic scenes over the course of his life, within times of extensive political revolution (1775 to 1851), using the sea as his dynamic canvas upon which to witness destruction, the complexities of battle and of victory and, thereafter, 'the impression of a lifelong creative engagement with the sea that remained, inevitably, unresolved.'
I knew little of Turner before the exhibition, bar the familiarity of his name and that which dawns over some of his more famed pieces.
I'm not one to interpret by the book or by theory and even though I took the time to read factual excerpts (which in some instances irked me for I'm not fond of critics), I prefer to respond to art, music and literature on the basis of my own feelings; by my heart and how it inspires and leads me to interact in the immediacy of the moment and thereafter- however long the impression may last.
As such, the exhibition is a must-see for anyone who is moved by the intensity of colour, the elemental power of the sea and the capacity and strength of human emotion, as much as they are by the full-scale examination of one man's passion and life alongside some of Britain's most defining historical moments.
The late fall of the seasons this year has offered some of the best sunsets I have had the pleasure to see and so Turner and the Sea makes the perfect Sunday afternoon excursion as refuge from the madding shopping crowds in the city. We slipped in after lunch and just back out in time for skies that were truly Turner-esque in themselves.
While I'll eventually cease to remember in exact detail what I read or was told of Turner within the exhibition except for a profound respect, I doubt that I'll look at water and clouds in quite the same way as before- how does one capture them I wonder?