Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Piazza Malpighi, Bologna, with the Basilica and Campanile of San Francesco

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 111 x 184 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D14550
Turner Bequest CLXXVI 31

Catalogue entry

The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entry (‘Street scene, with Campanile of S. Francesco on the right’): ‘Piazza Malpighi looking South’.1 The viewpoint is towards the north end of the piazza, looking south-west. Above to the right are the heavy buttresses of the apsidal east end of the church of San Francesco; oddly, Turner has omitted the slimmer bell tower attached directly to the south transept of the church which should be visible just to the right of the substantial campanile he does show.
The low arcade in the right foreground does not survive; three free-standing Gothic pyramidal Glossatori tombs can now be seen there among the tall poplars which now partly obscure the church. The arcaded range at the centre has been altered or rebuilt, and now lacks an arched portico. Far beyond the brick and stone Ionic column supporting a statue of the Immaculate Conception is the Neo-Classical Villa Aldini on the crest of the hill, aligned with the Via Nosadella.
For Cecilia Powell’s general comments on Turner’s views of Bologna from outside the city’s centre (folios 32 verso–39 recto; D14545–D14558; Turner Bequest CLXXVI 28a–35), see under D14545;2 for general remarks on Bologna and Turner’s numerous views on adjacent pages, see under folio 24 recto (D14532).

Matthew Imms
March 2017

1
Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.517.
2
See Powell 1984, pp.92, 466 note 110, and Powell 1987, pp.25, 202 note 46.

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