Joseph Mallord William Turner

Castel Sant’Elmo and the Certosa di San Martino, Naples, Seen from the Arco di Trionfo of the Castel Nuovo


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 122 × 197 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 62 a

Catalogue entry

The elaborately decorated archway in this drawing is the Arco di Trionfo (Triumphal Arch), a marble gateway which represents the main entrance of the Castel Nuovo, a large fortress also known as the Maschio Angioino, which stands beside the quayside near the main port in Naples. Built in the middle of the fifteenth century for Alfonso V of Aragon, the arch links the Torre di Mezzo and Torre di Guardia (Halfway and Watch Towers) on the western side of the castle. It is made of white marble and covered with bas-relief sculptures by a number of artists. Turner’s sketch looks west from inside the arch up to the hill of Castel Sant’Elmo and the Certosa (Charterhouse) di San Martino.
Further studies of the Castel Nuovo can be seen on folios 59–59 verso, 65–65 verso and 69 verso (D15670–D15671, D15684–D15685 and D15693; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 57–57a, 63–63a and 67a).

Nicola Moorby
June 2010

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