March 27–July 10, 2022

Turner’s Modern World

A radical artist confronts changing times

One of Britain’s greatest artists, J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) lived and worked at the peak of the industrial revolution, when steam replaced sail, machine power replaced manpower, and wars, political unrest, and social reforms transformed society. “Turner’s Modern World” explores how this artist, more than any of his contemporaries, embraced these changes and developed an innovative painting style to better capture the new world.

This landmark exhibition brings together more than 100 paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sketchbooks by Turner, including Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps (1812) from Tate Britain, The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834 (1835) from the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the MFA’s own Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On) (1840). These vivid and dramatic compositions demonstrate Turner’s commitment to depicting the great events and developments of his time, from technological advances to causes such as abolition and political reform.

  • Ann and Graham Gund Gallery (Gallery LG31)


Manton Foundation
The Lynch Foundation logo

Generous Supporter with Carolyn and Peter Lynch.

National Endowment for the Arts


Additional support from the Cordover Exhibition Fund, the MFA Associates / MFA Senior Associates Exhibition Endowment Fund, the Alexander M. Levine and Dr. Rosemarie D. Bria-Levine Exhibition Fund, and an anonymous funder.

Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in association with Tate Britain and the Kimbell Art Museum. Supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.