Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Arch of Augustus, Rimini

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 111 x 184 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D14598
Turner Bequest CLXXVI 56 a

Catalogue entry

The south-east front of the Roman arch is shown. Retaining its later brick battlements, it now stands in isolation apart from a few metres of the old city wall flanking it to about half its full height, in a grassed area with a path through it aligned with the Corso d’Augusto.
The carved inscription between the battlements and the pediment is fragmentary, and what Turner records reasonably accurately is about all that still survives from the left-hand half, with ‘SENATVS POPVLVSQ[VE ROMANVS]’ set above ‘COS SEPT DESIGNAT OCTAVOM | CELEBERRIMEIS ITALIAE VIEIS CONSILIO’. Among other details, towards the lower left are the high-relief heads from the medallions set in the spandrels. For other views of the arch and Rimini’s Roman bridge, see under folio 57 verso (D14592; CLXXVI 53a).
Powell has characterised the site as one of those that Turner came across simply by following the major routes through Italy and thus ‘did not have to go out of his way’ to garner a useful store of incidental subjects.1 She has commented on the relatively uneventful phase of Turner’s journey between leaving Bologna and reaching Rimini (folios 43 recto–60 verso; D14566–D14598; Turner Bequest CLXXVI 39a–56a);2 for his overall route south-east between Bologna and Ancona, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

1
See Powell 1984, p.90; see also Powell 1987, p.24.
2
See Powell 1984, pp.89–90, 465 note 98.

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