Joseph Mallord William Turner

San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice; the Church from the Canale della Grazia, with the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) and Santa Maria della Salute Beyond; Clouds above Distant Domes and Spires

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 123 × 173 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31870
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 41

Catalogue entry

There are three views here, made with the page turned horizontally both ways up. Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Distant buildings’): ‘3 sk[etches] on Lagoon – at back of S. Giorgio’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell marked another copy beside the entries for folios 40 recto–42 recto (D31868–D31872): ‘All views from gondola. The Campanile always scaffolded’.2 The latter observation is important in dating this sketchbook to 1840, as discussed in the tour’s Introduction.
At the top is a view of the church of San Giorgio Maggiore from south-east; it is now largely obscured by trees on the south end of its island. To the left are slight indications of the domes of Santa Maria della Salute across the Bacino and, at the far left, loose suggestions of the Zitelle church on the neighbouring Isola della Giudecca.
The middle view shows the prospect north through the short Canale della Grazia between the islands, with the monastery buildings and church of San Giorgio, and the domes of the Salute and the campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) in the distance towards the left. The ‘canal Orfano’ mentioned by Finberg in relation to folios 40 recto–44 recto (D31868–D31876)3 runs south of the islands in the more open waters of the Lagoon not far from this viewpoint. Compare the sketches on folio 40 verso opposite (D31869) and a contemporary watercolour showing the view to St Mark’s though the channel (Tate D32156; Turner Bequest CCCXVI 19).
Below, the other way up at the gutter, is a distant prospect of Venice’s domes and spires, more difficult to place precisely; unusually, it and the first sketch are elaborated by the inclusion of billowing clouds.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1011.
2
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1011.
3
Finberg 1930, p.171.

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