Joseph Mallord William Turner

Moored Shipping off the Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice; San Giorgio Maggiore; the Piazzetta, with the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and Basilica of San Marco (St Mark’s)

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 173 × 123 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D41119
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 25

Catalogue entry

Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory, which (presumably by a rare oversight) had not included an entry for this page: ‘From Molo, lkg. twds Lido, with S. Giorgio on right; also, S. Mark’s & D’s Palace’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell marked another copy: ‘The Piazzetta. 3 sketches’.2 There are two main views, inverted relative to each other at the top and bottom of the upright page and separated from a largely blank central strip by horizontal pencil lines.
Towards the top, the most detailed drawing shows the view to the east from the Molo, crowded with moored boats, along the Riva degli Schiavoni to the Pietà church, distinguished by the thermal window on its near side, and beyond to the eastern end of the city. The panorama is somewhat compressed, bringing in the easternmost lighthouse on the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore at the right, to the south-east across the Bacino.
Above is a continuation of the scene, with the outline of the island’s church from the same viewpoint, to the south-south-east. At the centre right, with the page turned horizontally, is a quick thumbnail of its campanile and dome beyond moored boats.
Below, the second main view is the other way up, looking north up the Piazzetta from outside the Libreria Sansoviniana on the left, with the domes of the Basilica of San Marco (St Mark’s) beyond, and the west side of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) to the right. Such iconic scenes were likely drawn largely out of habit on this visit, their details having been established long ago; compare the much more thorough treatment from a similar viewpoint in the 1819 Milan to Venice sketchbook (Tate D14399; Turner Bequest CLXXV 45).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, opposite p.1010.
2
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1010.

Read full Catalogue entry

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