Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Arch of Constantine, Rome


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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 914 × 1219 mm
frame: 1205 × 1503 × 120 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Display caption

The Arch of Constantine is one of the principal features of the Roman Forum. Evidently a pair to 'Tivoli: Tobias and the Angel', also on this wall, this study seems to have been abandoned just short of completion. There are various figures whose function cannot be discerned. The compositional symmetry derives from Claude, but Turner has heightened the effect with the vivid yellows he favoured in the 1830s.

Gallery label, September 1994

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Catalogue entry

438. [N02066] The Arch of Constantine, Rome c. 1835


Canvas, 36 × 48 (91 × 122)

Coll. Turner Bequest 1856; transferred to the Tate Gallery 1906.

Exh. New York, Chicago and Toronto 1946–7 (55, pl. 48); Venice and Rome 1948 (44); Edinburgh 1968 (7); R.A. 1974–5 (487); Leningrad and Moscow 1975–6 (54, repr.).

Lit. MacColl 1920, pp. 34–5.

Repr. Rothenstein and Butlin 1964, pl. 111.

Very close in style and degree of completion to No. 437 [N02067], q.v. For the topography of the scene see the account by Alfred Thornton printed in MacColl, loc. cit.

Published in:
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984

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