Joseph Mallord William Turner

Piazza della Signoria, Florence, with the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 189 × 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCI 37

Catalogue entry

One of the most famous areas in Florence is the Piazza della Signoria, the historic political centre of the city. This sketch depicts the south-eastern corner of the square which is dominated by two important buildings: on the left the Palazzo Vecchio (the Florentine town hall, also know as the Palazzo della Signoria); and on the right the Loggia dei Lanzi (also known as the Loggia della Signoria), a famous arcade used for the display of antique and Renaissance sculpture. Just visible within the narrow street beyond is the Uffizi gallery, whilst situated in the foreground are the equestrian statue of Cosimo I de’Medici by Giambologna (1529–1608), and the Fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati (1511–1592). Turner has exercised his usual economic approach within the drawing and, instead of fully delineating every detail of the Palazzo Vecchio, has simply noted the number of times the windows, crenellations and other architectural features are repeated along the façade.
Jan Piggott has linked the sketch with a later watercolour vignette study for Rogers’s Italy (see Tate D27539; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 22).1 The illustration depicts the same architectural features but from a different angle.
Piggott 1993, p.95.

Nicola Moorby
December 2010

Read full Catalogue entry

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