Catalogue entry

501. [N04446] Venice, the Piazzetta with the Ceremony of the Doge marrying the Sea c. 1835


Canvas, 36 × 48 (91·5 × 122)

Coll. Turner Bequest 1856 (136, one of 36 each 4'0" × 3'0"; identified 1946 by chalk number on back); transferred to the Tate Gallery 1948.

Exh. Rotterdam 1955 (58); New York 1966 (12, repr. p. 36); Edinburgh 1968 (8).

Lit. Davies 1946, pp. 156, 188 n. 14; Gowing 1966, p. 36, repr.; Herrmann 1975, p. 47, pl. 156; Wilton 1979, p. 224.

Formerly given a solely topographical title, this picture has been identified by Lawrence Gowing as a work in progress on the subject of the Doge symbolically marrying the Adriatic, which Turner could have known from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Venetian examples. Turner seems to have abandoned the picture at the moment of drastically altering the roof-line of the Doge's Palace on the right.

Tentatively datable to the mid 1830s on account of its relatively strong colouring and thickly applied paint. In addition, Turner seems to have abandoned his standard 3 ft by 4 ft format for Venetian exhibits after 1836, but see Nos. 505 {N02068] and 506 [N04660], and also the upright No. 368.

Published in:
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984