Description: Fishermen at Sea, exhibited 1796
Oil on canvas; 36 x 48 1/8 in. (91.4 x 122.2 cm) Tate, London, Purchased 1972
As Turner's first exhibited oil painting at the Royal Academy, this marine piece marks a departure from the topographical subjects of his earlier watercolors, for which he was becoming known, and signals his artistic ambitions. Capitalizing on the contemporary vogue for moonlit imagery, Turner juxtaposed the effects of both moonlight and firelight, prefiguring his later work. A contemporary review praised the picture's naturalism.