Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Piazzetta, Venice, from 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: 123 × 173 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31796
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 3 a

Catalogue entry

The view, drawn with the page turned horizontally, is north-north-west up the Piazzetta, flanked by the two marble columns at its Molo entrance. The Libreria Sansoviniana is on the left, with the campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) lightly indicated beyond, the Torre dell’Orologio on the far side of the Piazza past the left-hand column, the south-west corner of the Basilica on the east side of the square at the centre, and the west front of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) advancing on the right. The waterfront view eastwards along the Riva degli Schiavoni is effectively continued on folio 4 recto opposite (D31797).
Compare the well-known 1819 watercolour from further out in the Bacino (Tate D15258; Turner Bequest CLXXXI 7). The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entry (‘Piazzetta’): ‘scaffolding on cuspide of Campanile’.1 The presence of scaffolding around the spire is a recurring factor in dating the Venice views from the 1840 visit (see the Introduction to the tour).2

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1009.
2
See also George 1971, p.86.

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