Joseph Mallord William Turner

Boats off the Campanile of Santa Marta, Venice

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 126 × 198 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31290
Turner Bequest CCCX 7 a

Catalogue entry

In this sketch, made with the page turned horizontally, the exact setting uncertain owing to extensive redevelopment of the surrounding docks, but Turner’s slightly unclear inscription presumably indicates the campanile of the church of Santa Marta is shown on the right. The subject falls within a short sequence of views on the Canale della Giudecca (folios 6 verso–9 recto; D31288–D31293).1 The main body of the church is depicted in the foreground overlooking the waterfront on the recto (D31289), with the campanile out of sight beyond. The viewpoint here may be the Giudecca or just round the Punta di Santa Marta, then at the western tip of the city before the construction of massive concrete piers beyond.
The tower was demolished in 1910,2 but appears on the north side of the church in the 1780s painting of a View of the Giudecca and the Church of Santa Marta, Venice, by Giacomo and Francesco Guardi (National Trust, Waddesdon Manor). Compare a loose, atmospheric watercolour study of a waterfront with towers and domes in the contemporary Grand Canal and Giudecca sketchbook (Tate D32125; Turner Bequest CCCXV 9), which has been suggested as a Santa Marta subject in recent times.
The low buildings in the present sketch may be continued to the right on folio 8 recto opposite (D31291), which also features a German subject. As noted in the sketchbook’s Introduction, the Venice views on its early pages are intermingled with such sketches from Turner’s return journey.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See Warrell 2003, pp.179, 264 note 4.
2
See Jeff Cotton, ‘Santa Marta’, The Churches of Venice, accessed 25 January 2018, http://www.churchesofvenice.co.uk/dorsoduro2.htm#santamarta.

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