Joseph Mallord William Turner

Courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence; Also Part of a View of Florence from the North


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCI 69 a

Catalogue entry

The main sketch on this page depicts the first courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio (also known as the Palazzo della Signoria), a Romanesque palace which stands on the Piazza della Signoria at the historic heart of Florence. Designed during the fifteenth century by Michelozzo, the space is richly decorated with sixteenth-century frescoes and stuccos by Giorgio Vasari. Cecilia Powell has described how Turner’s study uses one column as a repoussoir (a foreground object which pushes the eye of the viewer into the main composition).1 She has noted that the artist placed himself on the eastern side of the courtyard, exactly where he could see the statue of Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini situated on the far left-hand side of the Loggia dei Lanzi, just visible through the doorway of the palace opening onto the Piazza della Signora beyond.2
In the top right-hand corner of the page is part of a view of Florence which is continued on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 70 (D16603).

Nicola Moorby
January 2011

Powell 1987, p.91.

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