Monday, 15 September 2008

COMMENTARY: 'The Storm' by William Etty

Published: STUDENT DIRECT, 15th September 2008 

"A Close Look at Artworks in Manchester: The Storm by William Etty (1829-30)"

I have always been fascinated by how painters manage to capture light and motion. Painters, such as Turner, whose work is full of nature’s ominous dangers, and weathers perilous forms, have always captivated me. It is for this reason that I love The Storm by William Etty. 

He manages to covey the pure terror and force of the tumulus waves at sea. Despite the boat taking up quite a large portion of the canvas, Etty has managed to convey it’s tiny scale in comparison to the vast ocean in which it floats; it is vulnerable and dwarfed by the wave that looms above the two figures, their sail expressing the fierceness of the wind. The painting has a dark undertone and a raw sexuality about it, the woman’s naked flesh glows in the night, stark white, while the rest of Etty’s palate is of warm earthy tones. 

Looking at it you feel haunted by the power of things outside your control, you feel the couples isolation, the motion of the rough water. It is a painting of raw experience, of fear.

'The Storm' by William Etty can be seen in the Main Collections of Manchester Art Gallery.


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