Turner’s watercolours of Venetian exteriors are dominated by the interplay of brilliant golds, yellows, blues and turquoise. Architecture tends to be lightly traced in pencil or ink, dissolving into mist, reflections and radiant light. They revel in the ‘indistinctness’ for which he was being attacked in public, and assert the artist’s right to interpret the world in personal and poetic terms.
This watercolour may represent the scene behind Palladio’s church of S Giorgio Maggiore, which Turner painted repeatedly on his visit.
Gallery label, September 2004