Joseph Mallord William Turner

Porta Capuana and the Piazza San Francesco, 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: 113 × 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15884
Turner Bequest CLXXXV 77 a

Catalogue entry

As Cecilia Powell first identified, the subject of this sketch is the Porta Capuana in Naples, a marble arch enclosed by two cylindrical towers (Honour and Virtue) which stands on the eastern side of the city near the former royal residence of Castel Capuano.1 Rising above the adjoining buildings on the right is the dome of the Church of Santa Caterina a Formiello, whilst in the foreground is the former Piazza San Francesco (present-day Piazza Enrico de Nicola). The gate is still in existence today although the upper storey visible in Turner’s sketch was removed during the early twentieth century.2

Nicola Moorby
October 2010

1
Powell 1984, p.425.
2
Compare a painting by Ercole Gigante (1815–1860), Porta Capuana 1855 (Certosa e Museo di San Martino, Naples), reproduced online at http://museosanmartino.campaniabeniculturali.it/, and a nineteenth-century photograph in the Archivi Alinari-archivio Brogi, Firenze (BGA-F-005658–0000), reproduced on the Alinari website, http://www.alinariarchives.it/internal/home.aspx, accessed October 2010.

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