Joseph Mallord William Turner

View Looking North-West from Monte Testaccio, Rome, with the Distant Dome of St Peter’s


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

Graphite on paper
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCI 8 a

Catalogue entry

Turner made a series of drawings from the high vantage point of Monte Testaccio, an artificial hill in southern Rome constructed from a Roman pottery dump, see folios 6 verso–8 verso (D16495–D16499). This sketch records the view looking north-west. Identifiable landmarks include, from left to right: the Janiculum Hill with the distant dome of St Peter’s beyond; the Church of San Pietro in Montorio; Monte Mario in the far distance; the Castel Sant’Angelo; and the two domes of the Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto in the Piazza del Popolo. In the left-hand foreground is a surviving section of the Aurelian walls which during the early nineteenth century still ran from the Porta San Paolo to the River Tiber. A small part of the drawing spills over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 9 (D16500). A similar view from the opposite bank of the river can be found in the St Peter’s sketchbook (Tate D16252; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 53a).

Nicola Moorby
February 2009

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