Joseph Mallord William Turner

Santa Costanza and the Basilica of Constantina, Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 130 × 255 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXC 40

Catalogue entry

The subject of this sketch is the Church of Santa Costanza, also known as the Mausoleum of Constantina, which stands near the Via Nomentana, north-east of the historic centre of Rome. Turner’s view looks north-east towards the circular drum and cupola of the church, which is dedicated to Constantina, daughter of the Emperor Constantine. On the left are the ruined remains of the elliptical walls of an early basilica built by Constantine, and in the background is the church of Sant’Agnese fuori le mura which replaced it. Further studies of this complex of buildings can be found on folios 61 verso and 62 verso (D16430 and D16432; Turner Bequest CXC 24a and 25a), whilst a view of the interior of Santa Costanza appears on folio 62 (D16431; Turner Bequest CXC 25). Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background and Turner has created areas of pale highlights by lifting or rubbing through to the white paper beneath.
Blank except for traces of grey watercolour

Nicola Moorby
June 2009

Read full Catalogue entry

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