Joseph Mallord William Turner

Susa, with the Arch of Augustus

1819

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 114 × 185 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D14050
Turner Bequest CLXXIII 37 a

Catalogue entry

The subject of this sketch is Susa, a city in the Alps near the Franco-Italian border approximately thirty miles west of Turin. Turner’s viewpoint is to the right of the Porta Savoia (also known as the Porta Romana) and the Cathedral of San Giusto looking south-west towards the Arch of Augustus. This ninth-century monument was erected by the Emperor Augustus to commemorate the ‘Pax Augusta’, a peace treaty with Marcus Julius Cottius, leader of the tribes of the so-called Cottian Alps (the mountainous border between France and Italy).1Related studies of the arch can be found on folio 36 verso (D14048). Turner also mentioned it within the notes he made from the popular guidebook A Classical Tour Through Italy by Revd John Chetwode Eustace (see the Italian Guide Book sketchbook, Tate D13962; Turner Bequest CLXXII 16a). Further drawings dating from later European tours can also be found within other sketchbooks (see for example the Fort Bard sketchbook, 1836, Tate D29313; Turner Bequest CCXCIV 54).
For a more detailed discussion of Turner’s arrival in Italy and the related Alpine sketches see the Introduction to the sketchbook.

Nicola Moorby
March 2013

1
See Fred S. Kleiner, A History of Roman Art, Boston 2010, pp.93–4, reproduced.

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