Joseph Mallord William Turner

Trinità dei Monti from the Villa Medici, Rome


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

Graphite on paper
Support: 114 x 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 82 a

Catalogue entry

With its twin bell-towers and elevated position high above the Spanish Steps, the Church of Trinità del Monti is one of the most instantly recognisable buildings in Rome and has always presented a naturally picturesque subject for artists. During the nineteenth century this view in particular became a favoured prospect as numerous artists depicted the church from the nearby terrace of the Villa Medici, the home of the French Academy at Rome since 1803, see folio 66 verso (D16275; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 65a).1 Turner had noted its significance in his notes from A Classical Tour Through Italy by Rev. John Chetwode Eustace, compiled in the Italian Guide Book sketchbook (see Tate D13944; CLXXII 7a). This sketch shows the church on the left with the obelisk erected in front by Pope Pius VI in 1789. On the horizon in the background he has indicated the outline of the Capitoline Hill with the tower of the Senatorial Palace on the Campidoglio. A more detailed study from the same viewpoint can be found in the Roman Colour Studies sketchbook (see Tate D16331; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 5).
A small part of the composition spills over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 84 (D16309; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 83).

Nicola Moorby
January 2009

See for example Louis Dupré (1789–1837), Trinità dei Monti a Roma, oil (private collection); Charles-Auguste van den Berghe (1798–1853), La chiesa e il convento di Trinità dei Monti a Roma, 1827 (Collection of P. Matthiesen, London); and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796–1875), Trinità dei Monti da Villa Medici (Louvre, Paris), all reproduced in Anna Ottani Cavina, Un Paese Incantato: Italia Dipinta da Thomas Jones a Corot, exhibition catalogue, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais and Palazzo Te, Mantova, Italy 2001, pp.183–6, figs.112, 113 and 114.

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