J. M. W. Turner. Acuarelas de la Tate Collection [J. M. W. Turner. Watercolours from the Tate Collection]: Special Exhibition of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is, obviously, the big cheese of Argentine art museums.  Naturally, I’m a fan.

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Absolute unit of a museum

As you’d expect, it hosts some pretty impressive temporary shows.  Currently, there’s one I was not going to miss.

From my scant education in art history, I picked up a couple of things about J. M. W. Turner:  I love him, and he used very, very long titles.  Also that he was very prolific.  Ok, so three things.

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Curators need something snappy, however

Eighty-five watercolors from the span of Turner’s career make up the show.  They do not disappoint.

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Durham Cathedral: The Interior, Looking East along the South Aisle, 1797-8
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An Old Woman in a Cottage Kitchen (“Internal of a Cottage, a Study at Ely”), 1795-6  see I was not even kidding about the titles

These two are from earlier on in his life, and you can read details about the paintings written by people more knowledgeable than I at the links, which go to the Tate’s website.

For my part, I enjoy looking at Turners from different distances.  Here is The Destruction of the Bards by Edward I (c. 1799-1800).  It’s a wild, beautiful landscape.  Maybe you’re wondering where the slaughter of the bards is going on though.

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Squint
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Wait, is that a wall or sheep or what
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Oh there’s the mass execution.

The landscapes (and seascapes) are my favorites, with the expressive colors and elusive atmosphere.  I feel like I’m clearly looking at a scene, without being able to pinpoint what I’m looking at.  Does that make sense?  I feel like it doesn’t, but it’s the best I can do.

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The Vision of Columbus, for Rogers’s ‘Poems’“, c. 1830-2
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“Sea and Sky” c. 1845, one of many many many many “Sea and Sky”s from his late period, when his style took on a light touch, fluidity of color, and lack of detail, and he couldn’t be fussed with titles anymore.

Moving through his career and life in the form of his watercolors is a fine way to spend an afternoon.  The explanatory signage is in both Spanish and English.  The ticket into the show is AR$100, but it is free on Tuesdays and the rest of the week after 645pm (the museum is closed Mondays).  The temporary exhibition pavilion is rather tucked away, so hold on to your ticket and follow your map, as the path isn’t obvious.  As a major museum, swag is of course available, although Turner-specific swag has just two images to choose from.  The exhibition closes February 17, 2019.

The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is easy to reach via the Facultad de Derecho station of the D line of the subway and sits between three major avenues in Recoleta.  Can’t miss it.

 

 

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