Joseph Mallord William Turner

Five Sketches of the Aqueduct of Nero, Rome

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 161 × 101 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15239
Turner Bequest CLXXX 76

Catalogue entry

Turner’s inscription by underneath the uppermost sketch identifies the subject of these five landscape views as the Aqueduct of Nero (Arcus Neroniani), a branch of the ancient Aqua Claudia which ran from the Porta Maggiore to the Palatine Hill in Rome. Ruined stretches of the aqueduct can still be seen today near San Giovanni in Laterano. The rough nature of Turner’s draughtsmanship, and the inclusion of five successive studies on one page suggests that they were executed from a moving carriage.
In the top right-hand corner of the page, Turner has also noted ‘Effect of Sirocco’, which refers to the climatic and atmospheric conditions he was witnessing. The sirocco is a warm, humid wind which blows across the Mediterranean from North Africa often causing autumnal wet and thundery conditions in Italy.

Nicola Moorby
December 2009

Read full Catalogue entry

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