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Tivoli, an ancient town in the Sabine hills twenty miles east of Rome, could be reached in Turner’s day by a four hour journey from the capital. Turner visited the place during his first visit to Rome in 1819. This unfinished oil study seems to draw upon his memories and records from that time. It depicts the blue silhouette of the so-called Temple of Maecenas (now known as the Sanctuary of Hercules the Victor), perched on the edge of the precipitous gorge with the waters of the Aniene river falling in cascades over the side.

February 2010