Joseph Mallord William Turner

Florence from near San Salvatore al Monte

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 × 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16590
Turner Bequest CXCI 62 a

Catalogue entry

This sketch of Florence from the south-east has previously been identified as a view from the Church of San Miniato,1 probably because of its similarity to a series of four watercolours dating from 1827–8, all of which are known by the title, Florence, from San Miniato.2 In fact, as Cecilia Powell has discussed, Turner greatly manipulated the topography of the city in these paintings,3 and the more likely viewpoint is the Monte alle Croci hill and a location near the Church of San Salvatore al Monte.4 Visible in the centre and right-hand side of the composition are the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo, whilst rising on the far left-hand side is the hill topped by the Forte Belvedere. Part of the drawing spills over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 63 (D16591).
Related sketches can be found on folio 51–52, 63 verso–64, 64 verso, 65 verso (D16571–D16573, D16592–D16593, D16594, D16596). The vista is also very similar to Turner’s earlier watercolour, Florence from the Chiesa al Monte circa 1818 (private collection),5 engraved and published in James Hakewill’s Picturesque Tour of Italy, 1820.6

Nicola Moorby
January 2011

1
Finberg 1909, p.569. See also Wilton 1979 p.384 and Warrell 1991, p.66.
2
The four versions are: currently untraced (Wilton 726); in the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry (Wilton no.727); the British Museum (Wilton no.728), reproduced in Powell 1987, colour pl.17; and private collection (Wilton no.729). There is also a related colour beginning (see Tate D25138; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 16).
3
Powell 1987, pp.93–4.
4
Not as Powell has suggested the church of Santa Margherita a Montici. See Powell 1987, p.204 note 18.
5
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, no.714.
6
See the engraving by George Cooke (Tate T06027).

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