Use a Museum Access Pass from the Toronto Public Library and the ticket cost is $10. Without the pass, it’s $25 … or $21.50 for seniors.
[Art Gallery of Ontario/Turner] –Above: One of my favourites.
Sometimes as dramatic and cinematic as an action movie director, sometimes as delicate and meditative as an ancient Chinese master, Turner was always a showman whose influence would be difficult to overstate.
Try to go at off-peak times, so that there aren’t too many people standing in front of the pictures. Take photos. They are not banned.
It would be lovely to see the originals in natural light, but that’s not possible. It’s still pretty amazing to be able to visit them by taking a streetcar downtown rather than a jet to England.
Everything is behind glass, of course, so reflections can interfere with viewing, but in many cases, the lighting is well enough done to make the glass imperceptible.
Don’t forget to stand back to view the pictures. It’s interesting to get in close and see how they are made, but step back and watch how they “pull together”.
Turner’s landscapes are so abstract, they often look more mid-20th century than mid 19th century. The exhibition is quite large, displaying many watercolour sketches and a worthwhile number of larger oil paintings.
Here’s a trailer from a 2014 movie that might put you in the mood. The AGO plays clips from it as part of the exhibition. I’m sure Turner would have loved the audio-video accompaniment to his paintings. Indeed, much of the visual language we take for granted today was invented by Turner’s restless, relentless experimentation.