French Website

Share |



Turner impressionist 45 years before 
Impressionism ! 

William Turner, The Harbour of Dieppe. 
1826, Oil on Canvas. 173,7cm x 225,4 cm. 

To send this page to a friend

  Dieppe is a commercial and fishing harbour 
port of the North-West of France, 
in the department of the Seine-Maritime, 
at the edge of the English Channel, 
with the mouth of Arques. 

From 1819 Turner travels to Europe and 
discovers France, Switzerland, Holland, Italy 
and Germany. It makes sketches and will paint 
the paintings later. It is in love with the light 
of it’s diffusion, it’s reflections in water and the colours. 

It is difficult to classify works of Turner 
in a particular movement. The atmosphere 
is romantic here but the painter is also 
realistic by the precision of his key and 
does not hide any detail. Another painter 
would have made disappear the refuses 
which float in the port. (See Zoom). 

But especially Turner by its treatment 
of the light, the effects of fogs, its manner 
of outlining the characters and of diluting 
the forms is impressionist 45 years before 
impressionism really does not exist. 

Claude Monet will never hide the admiration 
which it carries in Turner as it will not hide 
either the fact that it is inspired some. 

And especially, at the end of its life, 
late Turner for its dynamic treatment 
of the natural luminous effects, manages 
to be detached from its subject and delivers 
practically abstract and modern paintings 
that its contemporaries did not understand. 

But how can one understand a painter 
who has 70 years in advance ? 

Point of view : 

The point of view of the spectator is a 
little in lower part of
the horizon

The glance of the spectator is first of 
all attracted by
the sun and its reflection in water

Then it explores
the details on the side

Framing : 

The artist uses
3 naturals points of interest

On the left
the sun and its reflection are 
the tension field, near to the naturals 
points of interest
top and bottom. 

On the right
the natural point of interest 
lower frames a
vast harbour scene

Division :

The sky occupies about the high half of 
pictorial space.
covers the majority 
of the bottom of pictorial space. 

Lines : 

When one traces
the principal guiding lines 
and the creep age distances it appears 
the sun and its reflection in water 

are the principal subject of the painting. 

The port is a secondary subject. 

Details : 

Aboard ship they are the girls of the port 
who interest above all the sailors. 

On the edges of the quay one notices a 
multitude of objects. The painter does not 
hide anything to ensure realism. 

These women filled of the baskets to 
sell fish at the market or at the edge of the quay.

The sun, in top and its reflection in water, bellow, 
are the true subject of the picture.

Light : 

The light comes the top. It is reflected in 
the water of the port in the center and 
lights the frontage of the palate on the right. 

It creates also a
zone of fog
to the 
background around the church. 

Colours : 

Contrast between complementary colors.

Zoom : 

Similar Paintings :

Claude Le Lorrain. 
Seaport to the setting Sun. 1639.

Richard Parkes Bonington. 
The Large Channel of Venice. (1826).

Frédéric Edwin Church. 
The River of Light. (1877).


 HomePage  Newsletter  Analysis  Movements  
  Kinds  Techniques  History   Museums  
   Galleries   Artists Plays  Advertisements  
 Contact us     Who are u
s?   Bonds  

Video : William Turner. 
The Harbour of Dieppe.