J.M.W. Turner, Venice, the Bridge of Sighs, exhibited 1840. Photo: (c) Tate, 2013 Photo: contributed
He has captured Canberra's heart before, and now the master of Romantic landscapes, J. M. W. Turner, will be back to rekindle the love for the capital's 100th winter.
The major exhibition of works from London's Tate Britain will be a highlight of next year's centenary celebrations. The gallery is set to announce the upcoming blockbuster, Turner: the Making of a Master, on Friday morning.
The gallery's first winter blockbuster in 10 years, it will run from June 1 to September 9, and is sure to be popular as the capital braces for one of its famously chilly winters.
Then gallery chairman Kerry Stokes, left, his deputy Brian Johns and then director Betty Churcher examine Turner's Campo Santo, Venice in 1996. Photo: Richard Briggs
Australian art lovers have already signalled an enduring love for the artist's burning bridges and tortured seas. The gallery's previous Turner exhibition, in 1997, was one of its most successful blockbusters to date, with 240,502 people queuing to see the work of the famed ''painter of light''.
The crowds were bested only by a 1992 exhibition of Italian Renaissance art, with 242,701 visitors, and 2010's record-breaking Masterpieces from Paris, which saw nearly half a million people queuing at the gallery's entrance.
The first Turner show, titled simply Turner, was managed under the gallery's second director, Betty Churcher, nicknamed ''Betty Blockbuster'' because of her emphasis on big-name shows.
Born in 1775, Turner became one of the greatest masters of British watercolour painting. He died in 1851, bequeathing the world's largest collection of his works to Tate Britain as a gift to the British people.