Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Church of Santa Giustina, Venice, at the Junction of the Rio di Santa Giustina and Rio di San Giovanni Laterano, with the Campanile of San Francesco della Vigna Beyond


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 49

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, the view (with salient buildings helpfully labelled by Turner) is to the east from the junction of four canals, showing the Rio di Santa Giustina running north-north-east to the left and the Rio San Francesco della Vigna to the east-south-east to the right. The left-hand half of the view is taken up with the church of Santa Giustina, of which only the main Baroque portion of the west front remains unaltered today. Its high central pediment and the campanile beyond have gone (see below) and the main block has been extended to the right, with three storeys of regularly spaced windows. It remains in use as a school.
In the distance is a lightly outlined campanile of San Francesco della Vigna; only the spire is now visible from this angle owing to taller later buildings at the far end of the Campo Santa Giustina. There is a slighter reprise or variant of the view on folio 48 verso opposite (D31885). Finberg used this page as an example of the ‘Changed character of sketches’ from what he regarded as the more diligent work of Turner’s first visit to Venice in 1819, with their ‘clear-cut, definite and thoughtful statements’ replaced by ‘little more than careless outlines with the details ignored or treated impatiently’:
The sketch on p. 49 of the church of S. Giustina shows that the baroque pediment of the façade and the bell-tower were still there as when Carlevaris etched them, – the tower was pulled down in 1841 – but Turner seems to have cared very little for the buildings in this view. His fancy was probably caught by the two bridges and the two church towers – that of S. Francesco della Vigna appears in the distance on the right – but his interest in the subject was only languid.1
See also Finberg’s comments on the verso (D31887) and folio 6 verso (D31802).
Finberg 1930, p.122.
Technical notes:
There is some abrasion and staining along the gutter at the lower left, also evident on the verso (D31887), mirroring that on folio 48 verso opposite (D31885).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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