Joseph Mallord William Turner

San Paolo fuori le mura, Rome, from the South-East

1819

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
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
D16507
Turner Bequest CXCI 12 a

Catalogue entry

Following a systematic exploration of the eastern bank of the River Tiber from the Isola Tiberina to the outskirts of Rome, Turner made a series of drawings of San Paolo fuori le mura, the basilica church situated outside of the ancient city walls to the south of the city. This sketch depicts the cathedral from the south-east, showing the cloister and monastery buildings at the back of the complex. Compare Giuseppe Vasi’s etching, Monasterio di S. Paolo fuor le mura, from ‘I Ponti e gli edifici sul Tevere (The Bridges and the buildings on the Tiber)’, Sulle magnificenze di Roma Antica e Moderna 1754. In the background on the right-hand side it is just possible to see the Pyramid of Cestius, an ancient funerary monument near the Porta San Paolo, approximately one mile away. Part of the drawing has been scored across with multiple pencil lines although it is not clear why.
Other sketches of San Paolo fuori le mura can be found on folios 7 verso, 9 verso–10, and 14 verso (D16497, D16501–D16502 and D16511) and in the St Peter’s sketchbook (see Tate D16256; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 55v).

Nicola Moorby
February 2009

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