Joseph Mallord William Turner

Boats Moored in the Bacino, Venice, with the Pietà, the Campanile of San Martino and San Pietro di Castello in the Distance, ?from a Balcony of the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 89 × 149 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXX 86 a

Catalogue entry

Folios 82 verso–87 recto (D32424–D32433), all drawn with the pages turned horizontally, form a brief sequence of views around the Bacino. Here, beyond moored boats, the view is eastwards towards the Canale di San Marco, with the thermal window on the west side of the Pietà church on the Riva degli Schiavoni to the left, the campanile of San Martino, and the dome and campanile of San Pietro di Castello at the eastern end of the city beyond at the centre. The arc of the waterfront south-eastwards towards the Giardini Pubblici in the right-hand half is severely laterally compressed.
Inverted at the bottom right is a slight continuation across the gutter from folio 87 recto opposite (D32433), showing the lower part of the porch of the Dogana at the entrance to the Grand Canal. The viewpoint was likely a balcony on the entrance front of the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian), where Turner was staying on this occasion; see the parallel subsection of views from in and around the hotel. This would make the views south-east towards San Giorgio Maggiore and south to the Zitelle on the other page notional continuations to the right of this, albeit the other way up. The isolated view south-west over the canal to Santa Maria della Salute on folio 17 verso (D32296) may have been observed from the same spot.
Andrew Wilton suggested that this page and the recto (D32431) were ‘perhaps connected’ with a watercolour study of a sailing boat off buildings in the contemporary Grand Canal and Giudecca sketchbook (Tate D32125; Turner Bequest CCCXV 9),1 but while there may be a loose generic similarities with that scene on what may be the western reaches of the Canale della Giudecca, any resemblance is doubtless fortuitous.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Wilton 1974, p.156.

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