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William Turner’s Whaling Paintings at the Met Through Aug. 7

Art By

In one exhibit for the first time ever, Joseph Mallord William Turner’s four whaling scenes are on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met recently obtained three of the British artist’s paintings from the Tate Britain. Turner was often inspired by maritime subjects, and these scenes are some of the last in his career. The works are of particular note for their unusually frenetic brushstrokes, a technique that later only came to be appreciated. In addition to the whaling paintings, The Met is also displaying some of Turner’s watercolors and prints. The exhibition explores the relationship between Turner’s whaling scenes and their influence on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick—since the novel was published in 1851, after the paintings had been on display for several years at the Royal Academy in London. For more information on The Met’s Turner exhibition, which runs until August 7, click here. See a selection of his works below.

"Whalers," Oil on canvas, 1845 (Courtesy of The Met)
“Whalers,” Oil on canvas, 1845 (Courtesy of The Met)
"Whalers," oil on canvas, 1845 (Courtesy of The Met)
“Whalers,” oil on canvas, 1845 (Courtesy of The Met)
"Hurrah! for the Whaler Erebus! Another Fish!," oil on canvas, 1846 (Courtesy of The Met)
“Hurrah! for the Whaler Erebus! Another Fish!,” oil on canvas, 1846 (Courtesy of The Met)
"Whalers Entangled in Flaw Ice, Endeavoring to Extricate Themselves," oil on canvas, 1846 (Courtesy of The Met)
“Whalers Entangled in Flaw Ice, Endeavoring to Extricate Themselves,” oil on canvas, 1846 (Courtesy of The Met)
"Wreck on the Goodwin Sands: Sunset," watercolor and graphite with black chalk on paper, 1845 (Courtesy of The Met)
“Wreck on the Goodwin Sands: Sunset,” watercolor and graphite with black chalk on paper, 1845 (Courtesy of The Met)
"The Whale on Shore," watercolor on paper, 1837 (Courtesy of The Met)
“The Whale on Shore,” watercolor on paper, 1837 (Courtesy of The Met)