Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of Naples from the Hill below San Martino and Castel Sant’Elmo, with Palazzo Reale and Pizzofalcone

1819

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16004
Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 47

Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint for this panoramic view of Naples appears to be the lower slopes of the Sant’Elmo/San Martino Hill, possibly the monastic complex of Suor Orsola Benincasa (now the headquarters for the university of the same name on present-day Corso Vittorio Emanuele). The vista looks south-east towards the long façade of the Palazzo Reale and the former open square of the Largo di Palazzo (left, transformed during the nineteenth century into present-day Piazza del Plebiscito) and the Pizzofalcone Hill (centre right). Visible along the horizon is the rocky profile of the Sorrentine peninsula and, on the far right, the island of Capri. The foreground includes studies of an assortment of figures including what appears to be beggar in the bottom right-hand corner. A series of related views can be found on folios 48–48 verso and 49 verso–50 (D16002–D16003 and D16005–D16006; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 46–46a and 47a–48), and the composition is also similar to a study in the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16100; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 12).
The drawing was one of a number of sketchbook pages selected for display from the Turner Bequest by John Ruskin.1 Unfortunately, in common with many of the sketches and watercolours exhibited during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the work has suffered from overexposure to light and the paper has become irreversibly discoloured.

Nicola Moorby
July 2010

1
Cook and Wedderburn (eds.) 1904, p.305.

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