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Spoleto is a picturesque town in Umbria, famous for its Ponte delle Torri (Bridge of Towers), a medieval feat of engineering which spans the deep gorge to the east. Turner passed through the town on his way to Rome in 1819. As in so many of his Italian-inspired oils, he has enhanced real topography with an evocative but imagined sense of atmosphere. The composition is reworked from an earlier image known as ‘Bridge and Goats’. That etching was published in 1812 as part of the Liber Studiorum, a series of prints summing up Turner’s achievements in landscape to date.

February 2010