Joseph Mallord William Turner
St Peter’s, Rome from Bernini’s Colonnade 1819

Artwork details

Artist
Title
St Peter’s, Rome from Bernini’s Colonnade
From St Peter's Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII
Date 1819
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 114 x 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16310
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 83 a
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Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint for this sketch is the end of the northern (right) arm of the two colonnades built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) to frame the elliptical piazza in front of the Basilica of St Peter’s. The artist is standing within the colonnade looking out so that his view is partially obscured by the innermost row of Tuscan columns. In the background beyond he has outlined St Peter’s and drawn with more detail the adjacent façade of the Vatican loggia and the granite fountain by Carlo Maderno. A more complex composition from a different viewpoint can also be found in the Rome Colour Studies sketchbook (see Tate D16330; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 4).

Nicola Moorby
January 2009

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