Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus by J. M. W. Turner. Before 1830. Oil on Canvas. 132.7 x 203.2 cm. National Gallery, London. [Number 508, Turner Bequest, 1856].

in his notes on the Turner Bequest, Ruskin had explained that Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus (1829) similarly provides an unconsciously created type of the painter's own destiny:

He had been himself shut up by one-eyed people, in a cave 'darkened by laurels' (getting no good, but only evil, from all the fame of the great of long ago) — he had seen his companions eaten in the cave by the one-eyed people — (many a painter of good promise had fallen by Turner's side in those early toils of his); at last, when his own time had like to have come, he thrust the rugged pine-trunk — all ablaze — (rough nature, and the light of it) — into the faces of the one-eyed people, left them tearing their hair in the cloud-banks . . . and got away to open sea as the dawn broke over the Enchanted Islands. [13.136-137] — Landow, Aesthetic and Critical Theories


Landow, George. [Ruskin's discussion of the painting] The Aesthetic and Critical Theories of John Ruskin. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971.

Ruskin, John. Works, "The Library Edition." eds. E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn. 39 vols. London: George Allen, 1903-1912.

Last modified 9 September 2015