- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2007

Britain’s Tate Gallery holds the vast majority of paintings by Joseph Mallord William Turner but now there’s a rare opportunity to enjoy a hefty selection of them at the National Gallery of Art. The most comprehensive American exhibition ever devoted to Turner, this glorious survey of 146 paintings and watercolors — called simply J.M.W. Turner — traces the full arc of the artist’s career. It starts with picturesque scenes from his student days at the Royal Academy and ends with his late atmospheric canvases.

The chronology reveals Turner to be a more traditional artist than the proto-modernist of more selective exhibits. It shows how the artist used the sublime effects of changing weather to dramatize classical myths, biblical allegories and historical events as in “Snow Storm: Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps,” shown in this country for the first time.

One of the strengths of the show is to reunite similarly themed paintings and sketches now belonging to different museum collections.

Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Through Jan. 6. 202/737-4215.

Deborah K. Dietsch

Goethe-Institut Washington has announced a series of 6:30 p.m. film showings that hark back to themes of the 16th century. Called “Stories of the Past,” the series begins Oct. 15 with a biographical drama, Luther, directed in 2003 by Eric Till. The second selection will be screened on Oct. 29: a 1959 movie version of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children. The final program, on Nov. 7, revives a silent classic, The Golem, directed in 1921 by Paul Wegener and Carl Boese. Tickets for Goethe-Institut showings are $4 to $6. 812 Seventh St. NW. 202/289-1200.

Gary Arnold

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