WAG 4479


This print, 'Jason', is plate 6 of Turner's 'Liber Studiorum' series. It is an example of the 'Historical' category of landscape painting. It was published with the 1st part of the series on 20 January 1807. The mythological story of Jason and the Argonauts is the inspiration for this picture. The story follows Jason’s epic journey to recover the Golden Fleece. In this scene he is shown approaching the sleepless dragon that guards it. Turner hoped to demonstrate that landscape painting was the greatest of all the painting genres because it was capable of adapting to a diverse range of subjects, including historical scenes like this one. The 'Liber Studiorum' illustrated Turner’s arguments for the supremacy of landscape painting. The title means ‘book of studies’ in Latin. It contained no written text, instead it was made up of individual mezzotint prints on paper. They were released in fourteen parts from around 1807 until 1819. Turner intended the 'Liber' to consist of 100 prints but only 71 were ultimately produced. The prints reflected the five categories of landscape painting Turner believed existed: architectural, historical, marine, mountainous and pastoral. Turner wrote an initial on each work to indicate which category it belonged to.