Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Certosa, Bologna, with the Statues at the Entrance, the Church of San Girolamo, and the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca Beyond


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 × 184 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXVI 38 a

Catalogue entry

The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entry (‘View with San Luca in distance’): ‘from the cemetery of the Certosa’;1 Cecilia Powell has confirmed the subject,2 noting that the complex had ‘reopened in 1802’.3 Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the view is south-south-west from gates off Bologna’s Via della Certosa, with the campanile of the church of San Girolamo towards the right. The road to the portico in the distance is now lined with mature evergreen trees, obscuring the view to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca (for which see under the recto; D14564).
The Route to Rome sketchbook, which Turner carried with him on this tour, includes travel notes by James Hakewill (1778–1843), with whom Turner had been collaborating on the Picturesque Tour of Italy (published in 1820); see Nicola Moorby’s Introduction to the Route to Rome book (Tate; Turner Bequest CLXXI). Among Hakewill’s comments on Bologna is the following: ‘New burial ground or Campo Santo | lately the Convent of the Certosa (Chertosa)’ (Tate D13895; Turner Bequest CLXXI 20).
Powell has noted that ‘Turner has included two bizarre figures in his sketch which are two of the terracotta statues by Giovanni Putti (1771–1847) on the gate’,4 representing mourners, while below is a reasonably accurate attempt at ‘inscriptions recording the foundation and consecration of the cemetery’.5 For general remarks on Bologna and Turner’s numerous views on adjacent pages, see under folio 24 recto (D14532).

Matthew Imms
March 2017

Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.518.
See Powell 1984, pp.85, 464.
Ibid., p.85.
Ibid., p.464 note 86.
Ibid., where the inscriptions are quoted in full as given in a contemporary local guidebook.

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