Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, across the Bacino; San Giorgio and the Zitelle from the Entrance to the Grand Canal, off the Dogana


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 123 × 173 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 15

Catalogue entry

Finberg later corrected his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Chiesa della Salute’): ‘2 sketches. One of S. Giorgio; o[the]r of S. Giorgio, Citella & Dogana. (from Hotel Europa)’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell marked another copy, crossing out Finberg’s wording and adding: ‘Island of San Giorgio’.2
Of the two horizontal views, the lower shows the church of San Giorgio Maggiore on its island, across the Bacino to the south-east. The alignments of various features indicate that the viewpoint is outside the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian) on the Grand Canal, where Turner was staying (see the subsection of views from inside and around it). Working rapidly with this familiar subject, Turner has somewhat exaggerated the scale of the dome.
Above, is a panoramic view from the same point, with San Giorgio lightly indicated at the left, and the dome of the Zitelle towards the right, south-south-east on the Isola della Giudecca, with the porch of the Dogana in the foreground on the right. Silhouetted shipping is moored at the centre. Albeit slight, the sketch is comparable with the general arrangement of Turner’s painting of The Dogano, San Giorgio, Citella, from the Steps of the Europa, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1842 (Tate N00372).3 Compare the two-part sketch of much the same view on folio 19 verso (D31828).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, opposite p.1010.
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1010.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.245–6 no.396, pl.400 (colour).

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