Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Piazzetta and Column of St Theodore, Venice, from under an Awning outside the Libreria Sansoviniana, with San Giorgio Maggiore across the Bacino

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 89 × 149 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D32419
Turner Bequest CCCXX 80

Catalogue entry

Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Do. [i.e. ditto: The Piazzetta]’): ‘Looking twds. S. Giorgio’.1 Along with folio 77 verso (D32414), folios 79 verso–82 verso (D32418–D32424) show various aspects of the Piazzetta, all made with the pages turned horizontally. Here, the view is south-south-east from the west side of the square, with the heavily articulated classical arcade of the Libreria Sansoviniana on the right, and the column of St Theodore on the Molo waterfront overlooking the Bacino towards the campanile and dome of San Giorgio Maggiore on the island of the same name beyond.
Two figures in robes or cloaks and ornate hats are introduced in the foreground, and the scene is framed by indications of a fringed awning, of the sort still suspended from the ground-floor arches today. The matching column of St Mark appears to be lightly indicated on the left, although the upper left appears disrupted by loosely rendered marks which may indicate the awning moving in a breeze.
The view on folio 79 verso opposite (D32418) is similar, albeit on a smaller scale to allow for the inclusion of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) on the left. See also the disjointed panorama in the opposite direction, towards the Piazza (St Mark’s Square), on the verso and folio 81 recto (D32420–D32421).

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.1032; see also Finberg 1930, p.170.

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