Joseph Mallord William Turner

Part of the Castel Nuovo, Naples

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 122 × 197 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15670
Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 57

Catalogue entry

As Cecilia Powell first identified, the subject of this sketch is part of the Castel Nuovo, a large fortress also known as the Maschio Angioino, which stands beside the quayside near the main port in Naples.1 Originally dating from the thirteenth century, the castle with its five cylindrical towers has been extended and rebuilt a number of times. The short, broad crenellated tower which is the main focus of this study once formed the north-west corner of the curtain wall surrounding the main castle. It is no longer extant but it stood on present-day Piazza Municipio and is clearly visible in paintings and prints from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.2 In the background to the left can be seen the main entrance, the Arco di Trionfo, an elaborate white marble gateway which links the Torre di Mezzo and Torre di Guardia (Halfway and Watch Towers) on the western side of the fortress. Further studies of the Castel Nuovo can be seen on folios 59 verso, 64 verso–65 verso and 69 verso (D15671, D15683–D15685 and D15693; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 57a, 62a–63a and 67a).

Nicola Moorby
May 2010

1
Powell 1984, p.424.
2
See for example Antonio Joli (circa 1700–77), Carnival in front of Castel Nuovo, (Selkirk, Bowhill, Duke of Buccleuch), reproduced in colour in Giuliano Briganti, Nicola Spinosa and Lindsay Stainton, In the Shadow of Vesuvius: Views of Naples from Baroque to Romanticism 1631–1830, exhibition catalogue, Accademia Italiana delle Arti e dell arti Applicate, London 1990, p.47.

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