Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Arch of Constantine, Rome, Seen from the Colosseum


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 229 × 368 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 58

Catalogue entry

During his 1819 sojourn in Rome, Turner made numerous sketches in and around the Colosseum (see D16349; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 23).1 This study depicts the view from the western end of the famous amphitheatre, looking out from the arcades of the second storey gallery towards the Palatine Hill and the Arch of Constantine. Like many pages within this sketchbook the composition has been executed in pencil over a grey washed ground and Turner has used touches of white gouache to delineate the façade of the Arch of Constantine. The paper has suffered from extensive discolouration.
Further sketches juxtaposing the Arch of Constantine in relation to the Colosseum can be found in this sketchbook (see Tate D16354 and D16355; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 28 and 29), as well as within the Albano, Nemi, Rome sketchbook (Tate D15397; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 53), the St Peter’s sketchbook (Tate D16197; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 2) and the Smaller Roman C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16398, D16416, D16455; Turner Bequest CXC 4, 15a, 41).
See Nicola Moorby, ‘An Italian Treasury: Turner’s Sketchbooks’, in James Hamilton, Turner and Italy, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 2009, p.115.
Blank except for traces of grey watercolour wash; inscribed by an unknown hand(s) in pencil ‘clxxxix 58’ bottom left and ‘From Int. of Colm looking towards Appian Way & Pal Hill’ bottom right.

Nicola Moorby
October 2009

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