National Gallery of Ireland launches new JMW Turner exhibition in cooperation with Tate

An atmospheric painting of boats on water with city buildings in the distance.
J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), Going to the Ball (San Martino). Photo © Tate.Credit

Once in a lifetime exhibition comprises 89 artworks by famed Romantic artist. 

  • Artworks include large-scale works on canvas
  • Exclusive exhibition in association with Tate, and proudly sponsored by Grant Thornton, will run from 8 October 2022 – 6 February 2023

The National Gallery of Ireland has announced the launch of its latest exhibition, Turner: The Sun is God, which will open to the public on Saturday, 8 October 2022. The new exhibition offers visitors a rare opportunity to see 89 artworks by English artist JMW Turner. This exclusive exhibition featuring one of the most renowned landscape painters is organised in cooperation with Tate and proudly supported by Grant Thornton, Turner Exhibition Partner.

On the opening of Turner: The Sun is God, Niamh MacNally, Co-curator of the exhibition said: “The National Gallery of Ireland is delighted to present the landmark show Turner: The Sun is God, featuring 89 artworks by the artist from the Tate collection in London. The exhibition is a wonderful complement to the Gallery’s annual January display of Turner watercolours from the Vaughan Bequest, bequeathed by English collector Henry Vaughan in 1900. The artworks in Turner: The Sun is God are on display for the first time on Irish soil.”

The exhibition covers a range of themes from Turner’s artistic career including Memory, Imagination and Synthesis, Facing Nature, Light and Atmosphere; Darkness is Visible; and The Sun is God.

This large-scale exhibition will build on the artist’s enduring appeal in Ireland. Through a variety of media, the exhibition will provide audiences with a more comprehensive view of the artist’s skills, interests and artistic innovations.

The exhibition traces the development of Turner’s compositions from early sketches and exploratory ‘colour beginnings’ to finished watercolours, oil paintings and published prints. The Gallery’s own annual exhibition of Turner watercolours – held every January – is hugely popular with visitors. With this exhibition visitors will see a range of superb oil paintings, filled with dramatic contrasts of light and dark, along with various weather effects.

MacNally continued: “Curated in cooperation with Tate, this exhibition highlights the range of sources Turner drew upon, including discoveries in natural science, classical mythology, literature, art, poetry, and technological invention. The outstanding landscapes on show, depicting various locations across Britain and continental Europe, reveal Turner’s true mastery of light, colour, and atmosphere. The rich, glowing colours, used throughout his oils and watercolours, promise to mesmerise, and uplift the viewer as they head into the winter months. This exhibition will showcase a wealth of artworks by the Romantic artist that have never before been seen in Ireland. Whether you’re an art-lover or an interested novice, Turner: The Sun is God is certainly not one to be missed!”

David Blayney Brown, Independent Curator, and former Senior Curator, Historic British Art at Tate, said: “J.M.W Turner is one of the most preeminent artists of his time and this exhibition is a great opportunity to see his works in-person. From Turner’s early beginnings in the 1790s to his climactic works of the mid to late 1840s, this exhibition explores his fascination with meteorological and atmospheric phenomena; the sun, moon and clouds, as well as the vast, humbling forces of nature. Tate is really pleased to partner with the National Gallery of Ireland to bring this exhibition to Ireland and we look forward to sharing it with the wider public”.

Colin Feely, Partner and Head of Financial Services Audit, Grant Thornton, said: “Turner’s exceptional artworks elevate the status of landscape painting, going beyond the expected. Grant Thornton Ireland are immensely proud to partner with the National Gallery of Ireland on this spectacular exhibition.”

Tickets for Turner: The Sun is God can be purchased online, starting from €5.

Turner: The Sun is God is organised in cooperation with Tate.

The exhibition is proudly supported by Grant Thornton, Turner Exhibitions Partner.

The Gallery would like to thank the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media for their ongoing support.