Joseph Mallord William Turner

Part of Panoramic View of Rome from the Tower of the Capitol: the Capitoline to the Esquiline


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 77 a

Catalogue entry

This sketch, inverted on the page, is part of a view of Rome encompassing the Capitoline Hill to the Esquiline Hill in the east. As Cecilia Powell first identified, the prospect is taken from the tower of the Senatorial Palace on the Capitoline Hill, one of the most popular vantage points in the city.1 Turner made a complete record of the 360-degree view from the tower spread across four double-page spreads, see folios 74 verso–79 (D16293–D16300; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 74a–78). For a general discussion see folio 74 verso (D16293; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 74a).
The identifiable features within the foreground of this sketch include (from left to right): the Forum of Nerva; the bell-tower of Santa Maria Annunziata (now destroyed); and the Torre dei Conti. The buildings in the middle and background comprise (from left to right); part of the Torre dei Milizie on the far left-hand side; the Quirinal Hill; the Church of Santi Domenico e Sisto; the twin domes and obelisk of Santa Maria Maggiore; the small dome of Santa Maria del Monte; and on the far right the monastery of San Francesco e Paola, and part of San Pietro in Vincoli. The blank space in the bottom left-hand foreground should be occupied by the Forum of Trajan and Santa Maria in Aracoeli, see folio 77 (D16296; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 76). The panorama continues to the right with the Forum, see folio 77 verso (D16297; CLXXXVIII 76a).

Nicola Moorby
January 2009

Powell 1984, pp.223 and 427.

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