Turner and the Elements

Some of JMW Turner's most dramatic depictions of the classical elements " earth, air, fire and water " have been drawn from the Tate Collection for this first major Turner exhibition at the Gallery.

A fifth section, 'Fusion' investigates how the artist mixed the elements in his late work, creating canvases bursting with energy.The gallery's director, Victoria Pomery, explains the thinking behind the exhibition: 'Turner's landscapes show how he understood geology, and was aware of current discussions abou the creation of the earth. He was also fascinated by the threatening aspects of water, and the sea's ability to capsize ships and pound lighthouses. He took on the element of air in his paintings of the weather and atmosphere, choosing to covey the transient moment and changeability of nature. The element of fire features in his watercolours and oils of volcanoes, fireworks, destructive conflagrations and crimson sunsets. Each section follows a roughly chronological progression, from detailed and fairly conventional works to those which are more abstracted.'What will be extra special at Margate is that visitors will be able to come out of the galleries and see some of the views that Turner depicted.'

Venue details

Turner Contemporary Lifeboat Station, The Rendezvous, Margate Kent CT9 1HG 01843 233 000 www.turnercontemporary.org

Entry details

Free entry to all
Free exhibitions to all

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What the critics say


The extraordinary painting 'Snow Storm- Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth' will also be on show. Turner famously claimed that he lashed himself to a mast to experience the turmoil of the storm first hand.


The force of waves beneath the globe of white light in 'The Evening of the Deluge' pulls you into an imaginative rendering of the biblical flood.

  • Jackie Wullschlager
  • FT