Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ruins on the Palatine Hill, Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXII 50

Catalogue entry

This sketch, framed by an arched opening shows part of the ruins on the Palatine Hill. The name ‘Palatine’ actually supplied the derivation of the Latin word for ‘palace’ and reflects the dominant presence in this area of a number of imperial residences, including the palaces of Augustus, Tiberius and Domitian, the latter of which was extended by Septimius Severus. All Roman emperors took the names Caesar and Augustus, hence Turner’s inscription, ‘Palace of the Caesar[s]’. The exact viewpoint is not identified but the artist may have drawn this study looking across the hill towards the opposite end of the complex of remains. Alternatively it may be a view from the gallery of the nearby Colosseum.
On the far left-hand side of the page is the continuation of the sketch from the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, a view of the Forum from the Palatine Hill, see folio 50 verso (D15391; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 49a).

Nicola Moorby
May 2008

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