Turner in the tate

TURNER IN THE TATE

I

in the Tate Gallery we find as we go in the left wing a series of walls along which parade, dressed in the fashion of the period, (eighteenth and nineteenth centuries), a series of gentlemen and ladies

here we have

the portrait of a noblewoman, slim, erect, shapely airily dignified like some celestial swan

clad in light blue satin lace collar and cuffs her face turned slightly to the right

hand lightly resting on a book towards the left further on

landscapes       Italian ruins       (then

just recently discovered) a goat standing in a cave

framed by a marble arch

in Hadrian's villa the arch is overgrown by grass

and crowned

by some peasant's hut rural scenes avalanches castles rivers

off in one of the side rooms we find

a picture of a village fair

where we can see fall after fall

from Adam's

to the final fall

of the very stage

which collapses before our eyes

taking the actors with it

 

II

 

along the Tate Gallery building runs a freeway

parallel to the Thames where cars and trucks pelt by like meteors

 

on the opposite river bank an horizon of buildings rises

square masses of concrete drilled by gray holes

the yellowish-gray water of the Thames       laps in a muddy stream

 

dividing two contrasting worlds

III

but Turner

worked with light after he finished painting the usual scenes

landscapes avalanches allegories

 

(in his sea-scapes the waves swayed heavily back and forth as if a body was settling in a bathtub full of water)

 

light and waves

began to merge

producing a rhythmic, agitated

brilliance

or the walls began to vibrate giving off a single radiance that blurred the figures

little by little

light

invaded his scenes taking over sharp edges erasing faces filling every drop of water

 

at the end of his life every sharp edge

hardness

opposition lost importance his world transformed into a single luminous reverberation