Joseph Mallord William Turner

Column of Marcus Aurelius, in Piazza Colonna, Rome

1819

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16508
Turner Bequest CXCI 13

Catalogue entry

As Finberg correctly identified, this sketch depicts the Piazza Colonna, a square in the heart of Rome, so called because of its main landmark, the Column of Marcus Aurelius. The details of the drawing reveal that Turner must have been standing in front of the Palazzo Chigi and looking across to the south side of the piazza, dominated on the left by the Palazzo Ferraioli and on the right by the Church of San Bartolomeo dei Bergamschi. Rising from the left-hand foreground is the column itself. Erected in AD 180 to commemorate the military victories of Emperor Marcus Aurelius the monument is decorated with marble reliefs and is topped by a bronze statue of St Paul. Related studies can be found on folios 82, 87, 89, 90 and the inside back cover (D16624, D16632, D16635, D16637 and D40957).

Nicola Moorby
February 2009

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