Brave Old World

Tate Premieres Turner and the Masters

The student becomes the teacher at Tate Britain’s fall show, Turner and the Masters, placing British Romantic painter J.M.W. Turner’s most dramatic works alongside the masterpieces he’s both admired and emulated, from the likes of Canaletto, Poussin, Rembrandt, and Titian. The exhibition, seven years in the making, reveals Turner’s reworked reproductive pieces as examples of the artist’s underlying efforts to prove he is just as talented, if not more so, than some of the medium’s greatest makers throughout history. Though he’s followed in the footsteps of the greats, Turner has not been afraid to take creative liberties, and as the exhibition allows the public to view his work next to those of his idols and rivals, the risks he’s taken throughout his career are apparent and worthwhile. Coming from relatively humble beginnings and speaking with a patronized Cockney accent, Turner’s accomplishments are that much more striking. “As he might have hoped,” according to The Times of London's reviews of the exhibition, “it proves his supreme virtuosity and mastery of his craft.”