Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Views of the Banks of the Tiber, Rome, near San Paolo fuori le mura

1819

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

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
D16252
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 53 a

Catalogue entry

This page contains two views of the eastern bank of the Tiber in between the Aventine Hill and the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura. Both views show the same bend of the river near Monte Testaccio which curves around in the foreground, and the church itself can be seen as a distant building with a bell-tower on the far right of the drawing at the top. Upstream on the left are the distant slopes of the Janiculum Hill including the Church of San Pietro in Montorio. Dominating the right-hand side are the surviving remnants of the Aurelian walls which during the early nineteenth century still ran from the Porta San Paolo to the Tiber and followed the curve of the river. Today this area is a built-up industrial and residential district and only one tower is preserved. A more detailed series of sketches can be found on folio 57 (D16253; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 54).
The composition and details of Turner’s view bear close comparison to an etching of the same subject by Giuseppe Vasi (1710–1782), Veduta delle antiche Mura di Roma, from Book V of Sulle magnificenzia di Roma Antica e Moderna, 1754.1 A similar view from the opposite bank of the river can also be seen in the Rome and Florence sketchbook (see Tate D16499; Turner Bequest CXCI 8a).

Nicola Moorby
September 2008

1
See http://www.romeartlover.it/Vasi99.htm, accessed September 2008.

Read full Catalogue entry