Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Piazzetta, Venice, beside the Libreria Sansoviniana, with the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s), Torre dell’Orologio and Basilica in the Piazza Beyond

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
D32420
Turner Bequest CCCXX 80 a

Catalogue entry

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. Finberg had bracketed this page and folio 81 recto opposite (D32421) in his 1909 Inventory entry as ‘The Doge’s Palace’, later adding: ‘& S. Marks’.1 He had recognised that the two pages formed a panorama, albeit a disjointed one, and the Palazzo Ducale does not appear on this page except through the indication of its relative position by the wavy vertical at the bottom right, corresponding to its north-west corner on the far left of the second page, and by the continuation of the pinnacles above its Piazzetta balcony over the gutter to the bottom centre here.
On the present page, the Libreria Sansoviniana is lightly indicated on the left, with the campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) beyond. The Torre dell’Orologio (clock tower) is shown in more detail to the north across the Piazza (St Mark’s Square), with the centre and right occupied by the Basilica.
Turner had stood at about the same point in 1819 to make a rather more delicate and thoroughly detailed single-page drawing of the whole scene in the Milan to Venice sketchbook (Tate D14399; Turner Bequest CLXXV 45).

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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