Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Grand Canal, Venice, with Santa Maria della Salute and the Palazzo Corner della Cà Grande


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 221 × 325 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXV 6

Catalogue entry

The view is from the south side of the Grand Canal, looking east towards the Bacino. As Ian Warrell has noted, Turner’s slightly unclear inscription in watercolour at the bottom left (probably ‘BALBI’,1 but tentatively transcribed as ‘BAIDI’ in earlier publications2), appears to relate to the bottom right corner, where the rusticated structure is the ground-floor wing curving forward at the side of the entrance to the Palazzo Balbi Valier, detached but immediately west of the Palazzo Loredan-Cini, with its twin balconies high above the entrance to the Rio di San Vio. Beyond is the sunlit west side of the Palazzo Barbarigo3 overlooks the Campo San Vio, with the adjoining Palazzi Da Mula Morosini and Centani Morosini further on.
Receding towards the centre are the lower Ca’ Biondetti, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni,4 and Casa Artom, with the west side of the higher Palazzo Dario catching the light at the near end of a compressed run of palaces which today terminate with the prominent Gothic-revival Palazzo Genovese. The porch of the Dogana is lightly indicated at the centre, overlooking the entrance to the canal and the distant Bacino. Above this sequence rise the Baroque domes and campanili of the church of Santa Maria della Salute, catching the early afternoon light from the south. The largest building on the left is the Palazzo Corner della Cà Grande5 (now with modern windows on the blank west side shown here). Turner was staying at the Hotel Europa (the Palazzo Giustinian), not far beyond on that side; see the parallel subsection of Europa subjects.6
In 1857, reflecting his intense interest in Venetian architecture, John Ruskin characterised this work as:
A study of local colour, showing the strong impression on the painter’s mind of the opposition of the warm colour of the bricks and tawny tiles to the whiteness of the marble, as characteristic of Venice. He is not, however, right in this conception. When, in ancient days, the marble was white, the brick was covered with cement and frescoes; and the lapse of time, which has caused the frescoes to fall away, has changed the marble to a dark or tawny colour.
See Warrell 2003, p.164.
Wilton 1977, p.77, Wilton 1982, p.59, Stainton 1983, p.88, Stainton 1985, p.55, and Warrell 1995, p.107.
See Stainton 1985, p.55.
See Warrell 2003, p.164.
See Stainton 1985, Wilton 2001, p.328, and Warrell 2003, p.164.
See also Warrell 2003, p.168.
Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.213; reprinted in Warrell 1995, p.107; also partly quoted in Wilton 1982, p.59; see also Stainton 1985, p.55.
Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.213, footnote 3.
Ibid., p.499; reprinted in Warrell 1995, p.107.
Finberg 1930, p.125; both works are reproduced for comparison ibid., pl.XXII.
Warrell 1995, p.107.
Warrell 2003, p.164.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.464 no.1363, reproduced; Stainton 1985, pl.93 (colour); Warrell 2003, fig.177 (colour).
Finberg 1930, p.[152].
Herrmann 1968, p.84.
See Warrell 2003, p.104; see also Stainton 1985, p.74; Patrick Noon, Richard Parkes Bonington: The Complete Paintings, New Haven and London 2008, p.285 no.226, as ‘Entrance to the Grand Canal, with Santa Maria della Salute’.
Not in Wilton 1979; Warrell 2003, fig.33 (colour).
Warrell 2003, fig.32 (colour).
See Warrell 1995, p.108.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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