Joseph Mallord William Turner

Interior View of the Second Temple of Hera, Paestum, Looking towards the Adjacent Temple of Hera

1819

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15996
Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 43

Catalogue entry

As Cecilia Powell first identified, the subject of this rough outline sketch is an interior view of the Second Temple of Hera (formerly known as the Temple of Neptune), one of the three celebrated fifth-century Greek ruins at Paestum.1 Turner’s viewpoint is from the north-east corner of the building looking south across the surviving columns of the inner cella towards the colonnade on the opposite lateral side. Just visible beyond is the relative position the adjacent Temple of Hera (commonly but erroneously known as the Basilica). Powell has suggested that Turner’s approach reflects his knowledge of the dramatic interior views of the temples by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778) which he would have seen in the collection of his friend, John Soane.2 He had already used one of these drawings as the basis for a perspective diagram for his Royal Academy lectures (see Tate D17072; Turner Bequest CXCV 102).3
For further interior views see folios 33–33 verso and 44 verso (D15972–D15973 and D15995; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 31–31a and 42a). For a more detailed discussion and other sketches of the temples see folio 31 (D15968; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 29).

Nicola Moorby
July 2010

1
Powell 1984, p.425.
2
Powell 1987, pp.[85] and 204 note 68. See also the plates for Différentes Vues de Pesto, 1778, reproduced in Luigi Ficacci, Piranesi: The Complete Etchings, Köln and London 2000, nos.851–71, pp.666–79.
3
See Powell 1987, p. 83, and Helen Dorey, John Soane & JMW Turner: Illuminating a Friendship, exhibition catalogue, Sir John Soane’s Museum, London 2007, p.24.

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