Joseph Mallord William Turner

Arch of Constantine, Rome, seen from the Via San Gregorio


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 130 × 255 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXC 41

Catalogue entry

As Cecilia Powell first correctly identified, the subject of this sketch is the southern façade of the Arch of Constantine, seen from the Via San Gregorio. The Colosseum, which stands to the right of the Arch, is very faintly hinted at by one or two indications of lines. In the background on the left is the slope of the Palatine Hill and the Temple of Venus and Roma at the eastern end of the Roman Forum. Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background. Turner has created areas of pale highlights by rubbing or scratching through to the white paper beneath, principally to define the outline form of the Arch of Constantine. For a similar view and a more detailed discussion of the monument see folio 3 verso (D16398; Turner Bequest CXC 4).
Blank except for traces of grey watercolour

Nicola Moorby
June 2009

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