Monday, January 28, 2013

JMW Turner, Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying- Typhoon Coming On

Turner, himself had written a poem that he paired an exert from with this painting. The poem is called "Fallacies of Hope." According to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the exert he paired with this painting says,
 "Aloft all hands, strike the top-masts and belay; 
You angry setting sun and fierce-edged clouds
Declare the Typhoon's coming. 
Before it sweeps your decks, throw overboard
The dead and dying- ne'er heed their chains
Hope, Hope, fallacious Hope!
Where is thy market now?" 
Turner wrote this poem in 1812. It relates to this particular painting in that it talks about the setting sun and the rush of the coming typhoon. The men who were alive on this ship transporting slaves decided that in a way to evade the dangers of being caught in the coming typhoon, they needed to lighten the ship to make a faster getaway. If a slave was dead, or close to dying, they were tossed overboard and never given a second thought. This painting revealed the inhuman way of the people doing this awful deed as they first saw the ship in the distance and though of it as just a nice painting of one of their ships at sea, only to gaze further into the painting and realize that their evil ways were being exposed and condemned by Turner. Critics, of course, hated it as it looks to be hastily painted and not as detailed or refined as was their liking. Other Impressionist artists, though, were infatuated with this painting along with the many others that were produced during the Impressionist time period. 
This painting, to me, is a wake up call to anyone who cared about the lives of the slaves, or just didn't like the fact that they were being thrown overboard for the gain of others against their will. It's a sad reminder of the past happenings of this world and of the nasty things people are able and willing to do if they get enough power and control in their hands.  

No comments:

Post a Comment