Joseph Mallord William Turner

Forum, Rome, with Remains of the Temple of Castor and Pollux


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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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 CLXXXII 67 a

Catalogue entry

The principal focus of this page is the Temple of Castor and Pollux, an ancient Roman ruin dating from the fifth century BC which is comprised of three remaining columns and a section of entablature. In addition to sketching the monument in its entirety, Turner has also made detailed studies of various component parts at the top of the sheet. The first of these depicts the various bands of moulding present on the surviving piece of cornice whilst the middle study records the architectural details of the architrave. On the far right-hand side are three drawings of the Corinthian capitals which top the columns. These details which correspond with Henry Parke’s watercolour, Student Surveying the Castor and Pollux Temple in Rome 1819 (Sir John Soane’s Museum, London), would have been difficult to see in detail from the ground. The inscribed numbers appear to refer to the ‘19’ modillions, or ornamental brackets, underneath the cornice and the ‘12’ visible grooves of the fluted columns.
In the background are the outlines of the buildings along the north and east sides of the Forum (from left to right): the Palazzo Senatorio and the campanile; the Temple of Saturn; the Column of Phocas (visible between the left and middle columns); the dome of the Church of Santi Luca e Martina; the Curia; and, on the far right, the Baroque façade of the Church of San Lorenzo in Miranda with the adjoining portico of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina.
For a general discussion of the Forum and further sketches see folio 32 (D15355).

Nicola Moorby
May 2008

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