Joseph Mallord William TurnerArch of Constantine and the Temple of Venus and Roma, Rome 1819

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Arch of Constantine and the Temple of Venus and Roma, Rome
From Small Roman Colour Studies Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CXC
Date 1819
MediumGraphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensionssupport: 130 x 255 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16396
Turner Bequest CXC 2
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 22 Recto:
Arch of Constantine and the Temple of Venus and Roma, Rome 1819
D16396
Turner Bequest CXC 2
Pencil and grey watercolour wash on white wove paper, 130 x 255 mm
Stamped in black ‘CXC 2’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As Finberg first correctly identified, the subject of this sketch is the Arch of Constantine seen from the south-east.1 Turner has depicted the eastern façade of the monument but has only faintly indicated the position of the position of the attic bas-relief panel and the roundel and frieze below. More detailed studies of these decorations can be found in the St Peter’s sketchbook (Tate D16190; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 18). For further sketches of the Arch see folio 3 verso (D16398; Turner Bequest 4). In the background on the left of the view is the Palatine Hill, whilst on the right is the Temple of Venus and Roma and the bell-tower of the Church of Santa Francesca Romana (see folio 19, D16421).
Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background and Turner has created areas of pale highlights by lifting or rubbing through to the white paper beneath. Unfortunately, in common with many of the sketches and watercolours chosen for display during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the work has suffered from overexposure to light and the paper has become irreversibly faded and discoloured.
1
Finberg 1909, vol.I, p.564.
Verso:
Blank except for traces of grey watercolour
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘793 top right, inverted

Nicola Moorby
June 2009

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