The oil painting Rain Steam and Speed was first exhibited in 1844 at the Royal Academy and is one of the most important works by the English painter Joseph Mallord William Turner. Turner was part of the Romantic period. Such art movement had nature as something mesmerizing and Sublime. However, most Romantic artists did not depict the landscapes in the same style as Turner, for he used the materiality of the paint to transmit the mood of the scenes along with the physical elements.
This particular work shows the sophisticated technique of Turner, which is considered a prelude to the art movement that would follow: the Impressionism. Just as the Impressionists did, Turner dissolved the shapes of the elements. The outlines are lost, and the materiality of the paint is highly apparent.
A curious element in the Rain, Steam, and Speed is a hare that runs on the bottom right corner of the canvas. As its color is very similar to the one of the train tracks, upon which it runs, it is difficult to identify it. Many interpretations of the meaning of the hare are possible. Some say it is a critique of the danger that technology might bring to society, for the animal is fragile and could get hurt running on the tracks. Another interpretation is that it represents speed, for this is an animal known for its velocity.
On the bottom left corner of the canvas, we can see a boat with two people in it. Even though there is water on this part of the composition, Turner used only insinuations of blue. The sky, on the other hand, presents clear shades of blue but it is full of clouds and smoke from the train.
The composition has a vanishing point which coincides with the center of the picture. The train tracks come from this point in the canvas. It is mostly accepted that this is a rendering of the Maidenhead Railway Bridge and the river we see on the left is supposed to be the River Thames.
Turner applied on this canvas the techniques he had developed during his period as a watercolor artist. The transparencies the watercolors allow were achieved in oil by mixing more binding material to a small amount of pigments. The result is a paint that allows layerings.
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Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of Rain Steam and Speed the Great Western Railway, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of Rain Steam and Speed the Great Western Railway that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.
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