Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Canale della Giudecca, Venice, off the Redentore, with the Zitelle and San Giorgio Maggiore Beyond


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 244 × 307 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXVI 4

Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint is the Canale della Giudecca, immediately off the church of the Redentore in the right foreground. Its waterfront façade faces slightly east of north, but it is presented here as if it were facing north-west, almost like an architect’s schematic elevation for the sake of noting details, whereas the Fondamenta della Croce beyond runs east-north-east to the Zitelle, and points the way at the end of the Isola della Giudecca to the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore and its church and campanile, towards the left.
At any event, Palladio’s Redentore is shown rather inaccurately. For example, the decorative moulding suggesting the roofline (corresponding with the profile of a series of buttresses above the side aisle) should project from immediately below the horizontal upper entablature of the nave, and the corresponding motif in relief below, marking the actual profile of the aisle roof, descends from immediately beside the capitals supporting the pediment. Towards the top right is a continuation,1 giving a rough impression of the western part of the façade, the parallel free-standing buttresses receding in steep perspective along the side, and the whole dome, surmounted by its cupola and statue.
The layout of the buildings in the afternoon sunlight to the left of the Redentore appears much the same today, but their recession towards the Zitelle is rather condensed. Lower waterfront building still partly obscure the Redentore’s façade at the point labelled ‘S Giaco’, and were presumably then associated with the church of San Giacomo, demolished in 1837 (three years before this study), which had stood just behind them along the waterfront to the right, beyond the right-hand edge of this view, still called the Fondamenta San Giacomo.2 In 1819 Turner had occasionally noted its campanile in distant views; see for example Tate D14439 (Turner Bequest CLXXV 65) in the Milan to Venice sketchbook.
Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory entry: ‘Sketch for oil pntg, “Bellini’s Pictures Redentore” R.A. 1841’’.3 This refers to the Depositing of John Bellini’s Three Pictures in la Chiesa Redentore, Venice, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1841 (private collection; engraved in 1858: Tate impression T05192),4 and this sheet could well have informed the background of the busy waterborne scene, where the Redentore is shown from this direction, albeit even less accurately. Ian Warrell has also noted a similarity with the backdrop to the right-hand half of another 1841 exhibit, the Giudecca, la Donna della Salute and San Georgio (private collection).5
See also Warrell 2003, p.182.
See Jeff Cotton, ‘San Giacomo della Giudecca’, The Churches of Venice, accessed 24 April 2018,; see also Warrell 2003, p.182.
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, opposite p.1018.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.242–3 no.393, pl.393.
Ibid., p.241 no.391, pl.395 (colour); see Warrell 2003, p.182.
See also Wilton 1975, p.138.
Finberg 1930, pp.122, 125.
Albeit Peter Bower, Turner’s Later Papers: A Study of the Manufacture, Selection and Use of his Drawing Papers 1820–1851, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.81, notes that the Muggeridge family had taken over after 1820, still using the ‘C Ansell’ watermark.
‘Appendix: The papers used for Turner’s Venetian Watercolours’ (1840, section 2) in Warrell 2003, p.259.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.463 no.1356, reproduced.
Ibid., p.464 no.1365.
Warrell 2003, p.259.

Matthew Imms
July 2018

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