Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sections of the Aurelian Walls, Rome: Including San Giovanni in Laterano and the Porta San Giovanni; and the Amphitheatre Castrense


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Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 189 × 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXII 72 a

Catalogue entry

This page contains four variant views of sections of the Aurelian Walls in Rome. Turner appears to have executed the studies extremely swiftly. The drawing at the bottom of the page for example appears to show the Amphitheatre Castrense, a brick Roman amphitheatre incorporated into the Aurelian Walls which stands near the Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, see also folio 62 verso (D15414; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 61a). The two sketches above this, however, depict the façade of San Giovanni in Laterano, seen from the walls near the Porta San Giovanni, approximately 500 metres west of the amphitheatre, see also folio 38 (D15366). Cecilia Powell has argued that the uneven and rough nature of these sketches suggests they may have been drawn from a moving vehicle.1 This would certainly explain the need to capture quick impressions of successive scenes on the same sheet.

Nicola Moorby
May 2008

Powell 1984, p.472 note 11.

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