Joseph Mallord William Turner

Part of Panoramic View of Rome from the Tower of the Capitol: The Palatine to the Aventine


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

Catalogue entry

This sketch is part of a view of Rome encompassing the Esquiline Hill in the east to the Aventine Hill in the south. 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 Boarium with the round Temple of Hercules Victor (sometimes called the Temple of Vesta), the bell-tower of San Giorgio in Velabro and the Arch of Janus; and on the far right-hand side the bell-tower of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. The buildings in the middle and background meanwhile comprise (from left to right): the Baths of Caracalla; the Circus Maximus; the Porta San Paolo and the Pyramid of Cestius; a section of the Aurelian walls; and on the far right-hand side, Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill. The view continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 77 verso (D16297; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 76a) and the next section of the panorama can be found on folio 78 verso (D16299; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 77a).

Nicola Moorby
January 2009

Powell 1984, pp.223 and 427.

Read full Catalogue entry

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