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Like many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century visitors to Rome, part of Turner’s exploration of the city included the panoramic views seen from certain elevated vantage points. One of the most famous of these was the Janiculum Hill (or Gianicolo), a ridge of high ground to the west of the River Tiber which offered sweeping vistas across the historical centre of the capital. This sketch represents the prospect looking north-east from the oak of Torquato Tasso. Recognisable landmarks include, from left to right: the campanile of the Church of Santo Spirito in Santo in the left-hand foreground; the bridge and castle of Sant’Angelo; the dome of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini near the present-day Ponte Principe Amadeo Savoia Aosta; and the Villa Medici in the far distance on the right. The blank curving space from the middle distance to the foreground represents the bend of the River Tiber. The composition continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 39 verso (D15369) and a sketch of the view looking south can be found on folio 40 verso (D15371).
For a general discussion of Tasso’s oak and other sketches from the Janiculum see folio 39 verso (D15369).