Joseph Mallord William Turner

Copies of Paintings in Venice by Tintoretto and Titian


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 114 × 88 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXI 23 a

Catalogue entry

One of Turner’s key objectives during his 1819 tour of Italy was to reacquaint himself with the work of the sixteenth-century Venetian school, whose work he had first seen in Paris in 1802. During his stay in Venice he therefore filled a number of pages of the Route to Rome sketchbook with drawings and notes on pictures, particularly by the two great colourists, Titian (circa 1473/1490–1576) and Tintoretto (1518–94). Ian Warrell has identified the drawing on the central left-hand side of this page as a copy of The Probatica Piscina, 1578–81, one of a famous cycle of paintings by Tintoretto on the ceiling of the Upper Hall in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.1 Further sketches related to the Scuola Grande and Chiesa di San Rocco can be seen on folios 24 verso, 25 verso–27 and 29 verso–30 verso (D13904, D13906–D13909 and D13914–D13916). The inscription in the bottom left-hand corner possibly refers to the eighteenth-century Venetian artist, Bonazza, whose works were also visible at the Scuola Grande.
Also on this page are two studies of paintings by Titian. To the right is a copy of Penitent Mary Magdalene, 1560s (State Hermitage Museum).2 Meanwhile, at the bottom of the page, parallel with the spine, is Venus with a Mirror circa 1555 (National Gallery of Art, Washington).3 Both of these works were formerly situated in the Palazzo Barbargio in Venice, as noted by Turner on folio 25 (D13905).

Nicola Moorby
March 2010

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