THE SLAVE SHIP OF 1840
BY J.M.W. TURNER
The painting is of a slave ship that got caught up in a bad storm. A mass of dark clouds fill the sky with a fiery sunset in the middle. The water is troublesome announcing a Typhon is coming. For the slavers to save themselves and the ship; they start throwing overboard the dead and dying before the Typhon sweeps their decks. In those days the ship carrying the slaves kept them on the bottom of the ship chained up, and malnourished. By throwing the slaves overboard, is no lost to the slavers, because they could claim insurance money for lost item at sea. The sea is angry - filled with dead bodies of the salves still in chains. The sharks are happy food has arrived. The intention of the artist was to inform of the slave trade movement; inspired by the massacre of salves at seas. Turner’s painting may have been used to advance the abolition of slaves. His intention was to show how cold hearted the slavers were, the painting could be viewed as an antislavery campaign. By showing the realism of what happens at sea, the dramatic depictions of thunderstorm is showing matures more turbulent mood against mankind. The color blue place emphasis on nature & illustrate the idea that nature is superior to man to give a sense of true emotions. The storm could be viewed as a representation of nature’s dominance over man. The style is rough & dark which shows horror, the ugliness of the turbulent storm. He makes effective contrast between distant and near views. You could see the ship far off in the distant, still being rough up by the sea, even after throwing the slaves overboard. While in the front you see sharks attacking all the floating bodies of the dead slaves. The vertical line in the center is of a bright sunrise in the far which separates the scene. The bright red and yellow color on the left shows lighting hitting the water. The red and brown color in the water shows the brown skin slaves...
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