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Joseph Mallord William Turner

Helvoetsluys; the city of Utrecht, 64, setting sail


Surprise to awaken

In the 19th century, the prestigious British Royal Academy of Arts organized an annual exhibition in London during which each

artist  hoped to seduce the public, the critics

cs and potential sponsors. The

main difficulty being  to achieve 

distinguish his work in the middle  of walls

saturated with paintings.


In 1832, on the day of the opening (eve of

opening to the public, last opportunity

for painters to retouch their works), William Turner finds that his painting, depicting ships off a Dutch port, was hung next to

of another navy, almost twice as large, of his rival John  Constable. With its moderate dimensions

yours, its diffused light and cold hues, its

               Helvoetsluys has every chance of

               go unnoticed next to the spec-

               spectacular of his compa triote , with

               shimmering colors and contrasts

               strong. Far from resigning himself, Turner takes

               his brush and brushes a red buoy

               vivid in the foreground of his canvas. This detail

               makes all the difference: the next day visitors, whose gaze will be caught by this little vermilion stain, will only see his painting.

John Constable

the Opening of Waterloo Bridge , 1832

What we can take away:

Human beings quickly become insensitive to recurring patterns: as a continuous noise is forgotten after a few minutes, a project presented in an agreed manner has little chance of generating enthusiasm. On the contrary, what clashes arouses the interest of our interlocutors by giving relief to our remarks.

Related topic: Communication
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