The Harbor of Dieppe Essay

“The Harbor of Dieppe” is one of many naturalistic paintings by Joseph Mallard William Turner. “The Harbor of Dieppe” is an oil on canvas painting by an English Romantic painter Joseph Mallord William Turner. It was painted and exhibited in 1826 however its current home is at the Frick Collection in New York. Like many other paintings of the 19th century Romanticism Movement “The Harbor of Dieppe” illustrates a painting of nature and city landscape that is captured in its true existence.

In this painting Turner captures an amazing natural phenomena, which is the rising of a powerful sun that embraces together the city of Dieppe. “The Harbor of Dieppe” is an enormous painting, measuring a 68×88 (inches) rectangle. The painting represents a busy French port in the city of Dieppe. Numerous ships are docked along the shore and people represented in the painting are all busy, getting ready to accomplish all of the work that the day light brings. On the right side of the picture plain, there are hundreds of people lined up along the docks.

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Some can be seen trying to get their goods loaded onto the ship and others trying to get a glance at the merchandises that has arrived from around the world. The two women on the right foreground are working together to bring goods out from the ships and into the city; they seem to be unloading cooking dishes, picture frames and other valuables. Not all characters in the painting are busy at work, some are just sitting in the balconies of building and just staring down at the crowds that gathers outside.

A few woman in the painting are just having fun trying to steal the working guys attention. For example on the first ship in the picture plain, there is a young lady, playing with her feet in the water and the guy above her working in the ship is flirting with her. Most of the characters have a standing and working poses, such as knelling, however a few characters have sitting poses, having conversations like the two lades on the vessel on the left side. There is even a man kissing one lady on the neck.

All this crowds, socialization, and business would not be even possible if it wasn’t for the golden sun that’s rising in the background. It’s rays are shining up on the big city, bringing life and energy to the city and its residents. One can easily say the time of the day shown in the painting is early morning, just as the sum is rising sharply to the sky. The sun, occupying the most space, is the emphasis of painting. JMW Turner represents the sun as a giant, bright yellowish ball in center of the sky. It can also be seen as a much smaller round yellow ball that is reflected in the waters below.

The sun being in the center of the picture plain, distributes light throughout the image, however the foreground is darker compared to the background that seems to be shining like a star in the night sky Most of the picture plain is covered by waters and countless number of docked ships that are floating in one place. The water color is green with brown patters, it is seems to be dirty and polluted with all the city’s waste, there is even a sewer pipe running down from the city into the water. The architecture of the city is based on the ancient Greek and Roman structures.

The buildings are constructed tightly against each other, many of them with large and tall columns. While of the above objects are present in the painting, it is the large energizing sun that catches the viewers first attention. JMW Turner used a palette of a very light and natural colors. Almost all the features in the painting such as the vessels, buildings, clothing of the people appear to have the same light golden yellowish color. The light yellow color that dominates the paintings gives the viewer the sense of purity. This color derives from the light rays of the huge sun that’s shinning up on the city.

There is so much of the light yellow color that it makes the “dream-like” painting truly filled with light. Turner used various techniques to create a true to life scene. Chiaroscuro and linear perspective techniques are used to create the illusion of space and three dimensionality. All of the objects such as the vessels, logs, steps, people, and walls cast their large dark shadows into the water. Even the clothing of the people have folds in them to expose the reality to its fullest. Linear perspective is clearly apparent in the painting.

The orthogonal lines that line up the vessels, buildings, people’s faces share the same vanishing point,. It appears that the vanishing point is the church-like structure with a large dome, which can be noticed in the picture plain background. Turner’s style is very painterly as apposed to linear style. His brush strokes can be easily detected and it can be said that JMW Turner favors the Rubenistes view, because his paintings possess so much color. Color is viewed by Rubenistes to be much more superior than drawing due to its being more true to nature.

In conclusion, Turner amazingly captures the glorious and energizing sight of sun rising over the city of Dieppe. Turner transforms light into a powerful object; a light that keeps the city of Dieppe alive; a light that serves as guide to the shipping business of Dieppe; a light that is highlighting the beautiful architecture and most importantly a light that’s the source of socialization, work, love and happiness of people. “The Harbor of Dieppe” is a striking image filled with light that portrays a brilliant moment of the sun awakening and electrifying the city of Dieppe.

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