| Arts |

J.M.W. Turner, Before They Turn Out the Lights on DMA Exhibit on Sunday

Joseph Mallord William Turner's Battle of Trafalgar
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

There’s only a few days left to catch the biggest-ever J.M.W. Turner exhibit, on display at the Dallas Museum of Art till SundayMay 25. And even if landscapes don’t sound sexy to you, you’d best check it out.

Not only was Turner one of Britain’s greatest painters, Tennyson called him “the Shakespeare of landscape.” It’s not hard to see why when you survey his massive canvasses in the DMA’s J.E.R. Chilton galleries. The work’s scope, lighting and perspective are as rare and lifelike as they are moving.

In Fisherman at Sea, boats rock in rolling squalls under a moonlit sky. Stare for longer than a minute, and you’ll find yourself with sea legs. Through pieces like The Shipwreck, with their size and movement and light pouring from shifting clouds, Turner was able to convey a profound sense of atmosphere and awe, which the exhibition’s narrative refers to as transcendence.

Other pieces -- such as The Pass of Saint Goddard, in which a man kneels alongside a cross on the edge of a vast chasm, evoke man’s insignificance in the face of nature. Yet there are also historical and mythical scenes, like the grisly Battle of Trafalgar and my personal favorite, a depiction of the Odyssey complete with translucent spirits swirling around the ship. Quick, now’s your last chance, though: Once it closes Sunday, the show moves on to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for the last of just three stateside stops. --Megan Feldman

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.