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In contrast to many of Turner’s paintings – often full of activity, grand architectural settings, dramatic weather and dazzling effects of colour and light – this painting looks almost empty. The only figure is a barely visible young boy with a shrimping net over his shoulder, who wades in from the shoreline to be greeted by a small leaping dog. The ghostly trace of a boat to the right of centre, which has been painted over, suggests that Turner decided to emphasise the vastness of the sky and sea rather than human industry.
The Evening Star
Oil on canvas
H 91.1 x W 122.6 cm
Turner Bequest, 1856