Joseph Mallord William Turner

Piazza del Popolo, Rome, Looking towards the Porta del Popolo; and a View of Lake Nemi


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 101 × 161 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 78 a

Catalogue entry

Cecilia Powell has identified the subject of this sketch as a view of the Piazza del Popolo, the traditional entry point to Rome for travellers from the north.1 Turner’s viewpoint is near the entrance of Via del Babuino looking north towards the inner façade of the Porta del Popolo, and on the right, the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo. Dominating the centre of the composition is the Egyptian obelisk of Rameses II (sometimes called the Obelisco Flaminio) which stands at the heart of the square. The fountain which can be seen in front of the obelisk was moved from this position in 1823 and today can be seen in Piazza Nicosia.2
In the bottom left-hand corner of the page is a separate inverted landscape sketch. This appears to depict a view of Lake Nemi, see folios 1 verso, 6, 26 verso, 29 verso, 75 verso, 80 verso and 82 (D15106, D15113, D15154, D15160, D15236, D15246 and D15249; Turner Bequest CLXXX 1a, 5, 25a, 28a, 74a, 79a and 81).

Nicola Moorby
December 2009

Powell 1984, p.421.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like