Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 66 Verso:
The Forum, Rome, Looking South-East Towards the Arch of Titus 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXXII 65 a
Turner Bequest CLXXXII 65 a
Pencil on white wove paper, 113 x 189 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘[?Rubble Stn]’ bottom right and ‘[?Rubbish]’ centre right-hand edge
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.I, p.538, as ‘The Forum, with remains of Temple of Vespasian and Arch of Severus on the left, Temple of Saturn on the right, and in centre the Column of Phocas leading to the Arch of Titus’.
Gerald Wilkinson, The Sketches of Turner, R.A. 1802–20: Genius of the Romantic, London 1974, reproduced p.187, as ‘The Forum’.
Gerald Wilkinson, Turner Sketches 1789–1820, London 1977, p., reproduced p.157 bottom, as ‘The Forum, Rome’.
Cecilia Powell, ‘Turner on Classic Ground: His Visits to Central and Southern Italy and Related Paintings and Drawings’, unpublished Ph.D thesis, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London 1984, pp.116, 256 note 106, reproduced pl.57, as ‘The Forum, looking south’.
Cecilia Powell, Turner in the South: Rome, Naples, Florence, New Haven and London 1987, pp. note 17, 125 note 66, 197, reproduced pl.49, as ‘The Forum, looking south’.
Horst Koch, William Turner, Kirchdorf/Inn 1988, trans. Stephen Gorman, London 1991, p.10 reproduced as ‘The forum with remains of the Temple of Vespasian’.
Turner thoroughly explored the Roman Forum (Campo Vaccino) and made numerous sketches from various angles. This sketch of the north-west end of the Forum looking south-east is dominated by the Temple of Vespasian in the foreground and the Column of Phocas in the centre middle ground. The other main landmarks visible in the background are (from left to right): the partially excavated Arch of Septimius Severus; the domed Church of Santi Luca e Martina; the portico of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina and the Baroque façade of the Church of San Lorenzo in Miranda; the Colosseum; and the campanile and Baroque façade of Santa Francesca Romana. Just visible on the far right-hand side at the vanishing point of the sketch is the Arch of Titus. The panorama continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 67 (D15423; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 66) with the Temple of Saturn and the view looking towards the Palatine Hill.
This sketch represents one of the nearest compositional parallels to Turner’s later oil painting, Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino exhibited 1839 (private collection, on loan to the National Gallery of Scotland).1 The view in the painting is not an entirely accurate representation of the Forum but repeats the high view point from the north end with the frieze of buildings along the eastern side. It also depicts the rocky, rubble strewn ground which Turner draws attention to within the sketch by his inscribed notes.
For a general discussion of the Forum and other sketches see folio 32 (D15355).
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.379.
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