Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Church of Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, across the Grand Canal

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 123 × 173 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31904
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 58

Catalogue entry

The drawing was made with the page turned horizontally. Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Chiesa della Salute’): ‘from S. Giorgio’.1 This reference to the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, situated east-south-east across the Bacino, is misleading, as the setting is near the entrance to the Grand Canal, looking south-south-west to the domes of Santa Maria della Salute, with the apse of San Gregorio just to the right, and the canal stretching westwards beyond. At the top right appears to be a continuation to the right of the main view, showing palaces receding along the north side, not far west of where Turner was staying at the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian). The viewpoint is about level with the Palazzo Badoer Tiepolo; see also the view towards San Giorgio from about that point on folio 53 recto (D31894).
Compare Tate D32121 (Turner Bequest CCCXV 5), a watercolour study in the contemporary Grand Canal and Giudecca sketchbook from off the steps of the Salute, and The Grand Canal, with Santa Maria della Salute, from near the Hotel Europa (private collection),2 an evocative sunset watercolour associated with the dispersed ‘Storm’ sketchbook (see the Introduction to the Grand Canal and Giudecca book), which corresponds quite closely in its delineation of the far side of the canal.
The slight drawing on the verso (D31905) may show a view down the Rio della Salute on the west side of the church. Folio 60 recto (D31908) may be a schematic version of the present scene quickly reprised as a setting for storm clouds.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1011.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.464 no.1368; see Warrell 2003, pp.171, 264 note 26, fig.183 (colour).

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