Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant View of St Peter’s and the Vatican from the North of Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 255 × 403 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 47

Catalogue entry

This distant view of St Peter’s and the Vatican appears to have been sketched from the Monte Parioli district of Rome, north of the Piazza del Popolo and the gardens of the Villa Borghese, at a point on the road which leads to the Arco Oscuro. The great cathedral sits within a gap between two hills; on the left is the Pincian Hill and on the right, Monte Mario, whilst the River Tiber winds across the floor of the valley beneath. Today this area is a built–up residential district but during the early nineteenth century it was still rural countryside and the dome of St Peter’s rising above a lush woodland landscape made a naturally picturesque subject for artists,
A similar view from nearer to the Arco Oscuro can be found on folio 46 (D16134).
Blank, save for being stamped in black ‘CLXXXVII 47’ and Turner Bequest monogram bottom left.

Nicola Moorby
April 2009

Read full Catalogue entry

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