Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Dogana and Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, across the Grand Canal from the Traghetto del Ridotto near the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian) at Night


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, ink wash and watercolour on paper
Support: 222x 304 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXVIII 13

Catalogue entry

The viewpoint is around the Grand Canal entrance of the Calle del Ridotto,1 with the corner of adjacent Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian) lightly indicated at the right; Turner was staying there on this occasion, as discussed in the Introduction to this subsection. The familiar profile of the domes of Santa Maria della Salute appears to the south-west across the entrance to the Grand Canal, with the Seminario Patriarcale to their immediate left and the low north front of the Dogana terminating in its porch at the left. Turner had first made detailed pencil studies of the buildings from about this position in the 1819 Milan to Venice sketchbook (respectively Tate D14417, D14389; Turner Bequest CLXXV 54, 40).
The night effect is probably intended as moonlight, as a crescent moon is shown in a similar view focusing on the Salute (D32230; CCCXVIII 11), with the foreground illuminated by the yellowish light of a quayside lantern; a similar effect in the present variant seems to stem from a gondola cabin at the centre, framed and intensified by the vigorously defined silhouettes of posts, boats and figures in the foreground. See also D32238 (CCCXVIII 19), with the porch of the Dogana this time on the right, in a prospect from about the same point but looking further left, south-eastwards towards the waters of the Bacino. The soft moonlight is suddenly interrupted in a fourth view, as a rocket bursts skywards and illuminates the dome of the Salute (D32248; CCCXVIII 19).2 Compare also D32249 and D33883 (CCCXIX 1, CCCXLI 183) in the present grouping, showing the Salute in brighter conditions.
See Stainton 1985, p.47.
See also Warrell 2003, p.132.
Technical notes:
Ian Warrell has noted this and one other work (Tate D32225; Turner Bequest CCCXVIII 6) as being on ‘Greyish paper of the same type, but from a different source’,1 as Tate D32192–D32199 (Turner Bequest CCCXVII 13a–d, 14a–d).
In paper conservator Peter Bower’s earlier discussion of various Venetian sheets, the Turner Bequest number of the present work was cited,2 but CCCXVII 13 was intended.3
‘Appendix: The papers used for Turner’s Venetian Watercolours’ (1840, section 6) in Warrell 2003, p.259.
See 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.112 under no.66.
See Warrell 2003, p.259.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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