Joseph Mallord William Turner

San Giorgio Maggiore and the Zitelle across the Bacino, Venice, with the Porch of the Dogana in the Foreground, ?from a Balcony of the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustunian)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 123 × 173 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 19 a

Catalogue entry

Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Church, &c., with Campanile’): ‘S. Giorgio, with Citella & Dogana, from Hotel Europa’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell marked another copy: ‘San Giorgio also Zitelle. 2 panoramas’.2 The two drawings, made with the page turned horizontally, form a continuous prospect, the upper showing the church of San Giorgio Maggiore on its island, across the Bacino to the south-east. The alignments of various features indicate that the viewpoint is indeed the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian) on the Grand Canal, where Turner was staying (see the subsection of views from inside and around it).
Below is a continuation to the right, with the dome of the Zitelle towards the right, to the south-south-east on the Isola della Giudecca, with the porch of the Dogana in the foreground on the right. The sketch is comparable with the left and centre sections of Turner’s painting of The Dogano, San Giorgio, Citella, from the Steps of the Europa, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1842 (Tate N00372);3 he had first evoked the scene in two watercolours in his 1819 Como and Venice sketchbook (Tate D15254, D15256; Turner Bequest CLXXXI 4, 6).
Given the alignment of the upper part of the Dogana’s porch with the distant skyline, the vantage point was likely the same ‘Balcony of the Europa’ the artist noted when making drawings of the Dogana and the neighbouring church of Santa Maria della Salute on folio 20 verso (D31830), effectively continuing the foreground of the prospect to the south-west.
Compare the slightly less refined variant three-part drawing in the contemporary Rotterdam to Venice sketchbook (Tate D32433; Turner Bequest CCCXX 87).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, opposite p.1010.
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1010.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.245–6 no.396, pl.400 (colour).

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