Joseph Mallord William Turner

St Peter’s and the Vatican, Rome, from the Gardens of the Villa Medici


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 10

Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint for this sketch of St Peter’s and the Vatican is gardens of the Villa Medici on the Pincian Hill, an area of high ground in the north-east of Rome. St Peter’s dominates the centre of the composition and to the left is the circular fortress of the Castel Sant’Angelo. The collection of domes and bell-towers vaguely sketched in the bottom right-hand corner represent the two adjacent Churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto which stand on the Piazza del Popolo at the entrance of the Via del Corso. A similar but more detailed view can be found in the Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16343; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 17).
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 rubbing or lifting through to the white paper beneath. Additionally however in this instance he has also blocked in details such as St Peter’s and the Castel Sant’Angelo using touches of white gouache.
Blank except for traces of grey watercolour wash

Nicola Moorby
May 2009

Read full Catalogue entry

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