Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Piazza del Nettuno, Bologna, and its Fountain, with the Basilica of San Petronio Beyond; the Arcade Leading to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, with Bologna in the Distance


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 × 184 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXVI 26 f

Catalogue entry

The view is from the middle of the Piazza del Nettuno, with the south-west corner of the Palazzo del Podestà in the foreground at the left. Beyond the ornate Fountain of Neptune, the campanile and ornately articulated north front of the Basilica of San Petronio (the upper stages of which remain in the incomplete state Turner indicates) are shown across the adjacent Piazza Maggiore. There is wider view of the Piazza del Nettuno from further back on folio 28 recto (D14535; Turner Bequest CLXXVI 26a) ; see also folio 27 recto (D14538; CLXXVI 26d), under which Giambologna’s figure of Neptune is discussed.1
At the top right, drawn with the page turned vertically, is a slight separate study. The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entry (‘The Piazza del Nettuno; also “Arcade to Madonna del ...” (probably Madonna di San Luca)’), crossing out ‘probably’,2 and the subject is indeed part of the long Baroque arcade zigzagging up the hill south-west of Bologna, which appears in the distance, to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca; see under folio 42 recto (D14564; Turner Bequest CLXXVI 38).3
For general remarks on Bologna and Turner’s numerous views on adjacent pages, see under folio 24 recto (D14532).
Finberg noted of the pages he designated Turner Bequest CLXXVI 26a–h (D14535D14542): ‘The following four leaves were found loose, but appear to belong here.’4 Their presence as now bound at this stage of the sketchbook affects its foliation sequence compared to Finberg’s numbering; see the concordance in the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

See also Powell 1984, pp.82–3.
Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.517.
See also Powell 1984, pp.84–6.
Finberg 1909, I, p.517.

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