Joseph Mallord William Turner

General View of Rome from Monte Mario


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 12

Catalogue entry

Turner made a number of on-the-spot sketches and more elaborate drawings of the view of Rome from Monte Mario. This page depicts part of the view looking south-east directly towards the heart of the city. Turner has only troubled to outline the main landmarks along the central horizon line and therefore the breadth of the River Tiber is implied only as a blank space in the foreground. On this side can be seen (from left to right) the campanile of the Palazzo Senatario (Senatorial Palace) on the Capitol, the Castel St Angelo and, on the far right, St Peter’s and the Vatican. The panorama continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread with the two domes of the Piazza del Popolo, the Church of Trinità dei Monti at the Piazza d’Espagna, the obelisk of Piazza dell’Esquilino framed by the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Quirinal Palace and the Colosseum, see folio 11 verso (D16178).
As Finberg identified, the viewpoint of this sketch near the Villa Madama, is very close to a more detailed tonal composition in the Roman Colour Studies sketchbook (Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 31; Tate D16357).1 This in turn provided the basis for a finished watercolour, Rome, from Monte Mario c.1820 (private collection), painted on Turner’s return to England, for his friend and patron, Walter Fawkes.2
For a general discussion of Turner’s views from Monte Mario see folio 9 verso (D16174).

Nicola Moorby
September 2008

Finberg 1909, vol.I, p.558
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, no.719.

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