Heroine of Trafalgar: The Fighting Temeraire

Special effects

In the area of water beneath the tug, we can see that Turner sometimes painted quick, sketchy marks as finishing touches to his work. They are a kind of visual short-hand, particularly effective when viewed at a distance. Here, rapidly-painted squiggles suggest the way that reflections are broken up by the rippled surface of the river.

The thick, crusted areas of paint are known as impasto, a technique that made the most of oil paint's plastic qualities. Turner sometimes used a palette knife to achieve this effect, but here, the rounded dabs of paint suggest that he worked with a heavily loaded brush instead.

 

 
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