Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Piazzetta, Venice, with the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), Columns and Libreria Sansoviniana, and 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: 123 × 173 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31815
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 13

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, the view is south-south-east from the Piazzetta between the two columns on the Molo waterfront, looking towards the campanile and dome of San Giorgio Maggiore across the Bacino. Framing the view to left and right respectively are the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and Libreria Sansoviniana. The representation of the similar columns as being of apparently different heights is symptomatic of the perspectival challenge of the arrangement, which Turner had struggled with in 1819 in a more refined drawing in the Milan to Venice sketchbook (Tate D14402; Turner Bequest CLXXV 46a).
Finberg later annotated the transcription in his 1909 Inventory entry (‘“4 Men carrying a ... of Timber.”’): ‘?”line” or “load”’.1 This possibly relates to the slight figures towards the bottom left or to some other commercial activity on the busy quay.

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.1009.

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