Joseph Mallord William Turner

Florence from the South-East

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
D16588
Turner Bequest CXCI 61 a

Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint for this view of Florence from the south-east appears to be the hill to the south of present-day Ponte San Niccolò, which crosses the River Arno near the old medieval gate of Porta San Niccolò and the weir (Pescaia di San Niccolò). The vista looks north-west towards the heart of the city with the Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo and the Church of Santa Croce (in front of the Duomo) grouped at the centre of the composition. Visible on the opposite bank of the river to the right is the Torre della Zecca, part of the former medieval gate, the surviving part of which stands in present-day Piazza Piave. A small part of the drawing spills over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 62 (D16589).
The meaning of Turner’s inscription, ‘St Margarita’ near the bottom left-hand corner of the page remains unclear. Finberg and Powell have both suggested that the artist’s location might have been the Church of Santa Margherita a Montici.1 However, this building is located considerably further south than this prospect would allow.

Nicola Moorby
January 2011

1
Finberg 1909, p.569; Powell 1987, p.204 note 18.

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