Venice, Looking East from the Guidecca, Sunrise

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J.M.W. Turner, Venice, Looking East from the Guidecca, Sunrise, 1819

BY REID GUEMMER

"You throw the sand against the wind 
And the wind blows it back again 

And every sand becomes a Gem 
Reflected in the beams divine."
          "Mock on, Mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau," William Blake 

You’re looking to the horizon of Venice, the morning cool is slowly disappearing as the sun rises. This is the place for new opportunities. 

Venice, Looking East from the Guidecca was completed in 1819. A year afterwards Turner began experimenting much more with mixing watercolors. There was a series of paintings including one titled “color beginnings,”, that all looked very similar and shared many of the same techniques used in the creation of Venice, Looking East from Guidecca, Sunrise. What you’re seeing is the view of Venice from Guidecca, an island south of Venice home to the original Venetian ghetto. Whether Turner realized it or not the sunrise in Venice, Looking East from the Guidecca, Sunrise represented more than a sense of hope and new beginning for the people of Guidecca, but it marked the beginning of a new style for himself. 

The distant city has clear, definite details. The closer the object is in view the hazier it becomes, showing the morning fog and dew slowly disappearing as the sunrises and a new day begins. In the viewer’s main focus is a boat painted in a blood red with brown staining at the bottoms. The off shade of red along with the brown splotches seem look like blood, perhaps representing what life used to be like for the people of Guidecca. Although as shades of yellow and orange creep into the painting and frame the city, the painting feels calm and soothes you.

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