Joseph Mallord William Turner

Part of a View of Naples and Vesuvius, from Montesanto


Not on display

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 CLXXXVI 49

Catalogue entry

This page contains part of a panoramic view of Naples seen from the top of the Scala Montesanto (Montesanto Steps), on the northern slopes below Castel Sant’Elmo, near present day Corso Vittorio Emanuele. This part of the vista looks north across the roofs and domes of the city towards the Reggia (Palace) di Capodimonte, prominent along the horizon. The general topography of the area has been much altered since the early nineteenth century during urban restructuring projects such as the building of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele and the funicular routes. However, the tall arches visible near the centre of the drawing are the substructures of an old wall amid the tufa slopes (now part of present-day Parco Ventalieri),1 whilst to the right is part of the unfinished Palazzo Spinelli di Tarsia, built by the Neapolitan architect Domenico Antonio Vaccaro during the seventeen-thirties. The composition continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 50 verso (D16007; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 48a).
It is not clear why Turner has inscribed the sketch ‘N[aples] from Trinita de Monti’ but perhaps he was confused with, or reminded, of the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti (Spanish Steps) in Rome.

Nicola Moorby
July 2010

The park was built during the 1980s, see

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