If this is your first time in Barcelona, getting to the Museu Nacional is a rewarding experience in itself. You’ll be left breathless at the fabulous view over the city of Barcelona, one of the prettiest. Once inside the museum, you can go up to the Terrazas Mirador where you’ll be able to take in a spectacular 360° panoramic view. After snapping a few pictures, you’ll be ready to delight in the landscapes of J.M.W. Turner. More than a hundred pieces by the master of light and colour await.
@Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Photo: Marta Mérida
From a young age, he showed a passion for travel, colouring in the drawings that adorned travel books. Thanks to his journeys through Europe, he filled his books with landscapes that take us to France, Italy, Switzerland and, of course, Great Britain. The forces of nature dominate and, with his techniques, are transformed into the central figures in his watercolours and canvases. This will become immediately apparent as you take in serene landscapes, like The New Moon, in which some children and their dogs play by the seashore, or Ponte Delle Torri, featuring a placid panoramic where sunlight takes centre stage.
J.M.W. Turner. Buttermere Lake, with Part of Cromackwater, Cumberland, a Shower, exhibited in 1798. Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856.
But he also shows the force of nature in its opposing state. We get a glimpse of approaching storms, leaden skies that merge with the sea, ships that will likely go adrift. We are taken aback by the great avalanche in Grisons, which portrays the ultimate expression of motion.
J.M.W. Turner had a gift for interpreting the forces and stillness of nature and capture them to arouse our senses. He also calls on our imagination and gaze, as evidenced in his piece Venice, The Piazzetta, with the ceremony between the Doge and the sea.
J.M.W. Turner. Venice, The Piazzetta, with the ceremony of the Doge marrying the sea, c. 1835. Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856.
We stop, and it’s now that we can see the various gondolas and the people riding in them. They are colour and light, and the great artist makes them visible and yet almost invisible at the same time.
J.M.W. Turner. Going to the Ball (San Martino), exhibited in 1846. Tate: Accepted by nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856.
In his latter years, the sun was as a god to him and he made it the focus of our attention. A golden sun that’s alive and conveys a sense of peace. It’s surprising how, in his last stage, his light was so beautiful and full of life. All that’s left is to applaud J.M.W. Turner and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya in collaboration with the Tate Gallery for giving us a chance to be dazzled by the art we’ve contemplated.