Turner

Turner

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In this Power of Art episode, author and historian Simon Schama recounts how Britain's greatest painter, JMW Turner, caused a scandal with his infamous oil on canvas, ''The Slave Ship.''

Schama takes us back to 1840 in London, where an international anti-slavery convention was planned. Turner wanted to have his say in paint. So he resurrected one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the British Empire when 132 Africans were thrown overboard into the shark-infested waters of the Caribbean.

Influenced by Hieronymus Bosch's hell scenes, ''The Slave Ship'' was berated by Turner’s critics for its horrific subject matter and abstracted style, but Sir Simon contends it is his greatest achievement. The painting debuted at the Royal Academy of Arts and is now on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Cast & Crew

(Director), Simon Schama (Self), Mark Hyde (Older Turner), Joe Van Moyland (Younger Turner)

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