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Featured Masterpiece  

This month's featured oil painting Brughel's 'Ulysses Deriding Polyhemus Homers Odyssey'.

JMW Turner (1775-1851) was the son of a barber and born in Convent Garden, London. His talent was precocious. He was admitted into the Royal Academy Schools in 1789 and first exhibited at the RA in 1790.

Throughout his life he was much indebted to the Academy, which recognized his genius and supported him against many of the arbiters of taste. He became an Associate member of the RA in 1799 and Deputy President in 1845.

In Ulysses Deriding Polyhemus Homers Odyssey the heightening of color in this oil painting has reached a new extreme. This was undoubtedly a consequence of Turners reactions to both light and atmosphere in Italy and to the works of art he was looking at during his stay there in 1828-9 when he produced a sketch for Ulysses as well as having a studio in Rome where he could experiment with the range of his palette.  The change was noticeable enough for one contemporary critic to write of the unnatural tawdriness of the picture and its coloring run mad. John Ruskin was to call it later the central picture in Turners career.


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