Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Rialto Bridge, Venice

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 126 × 198 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31305
Turner Bequest CCCX 15

Catalogue entry

As Finberg noted,1 this is a very loose sketch of the familiar Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal, seen at the bend in the distance on folio 14 verso opposite (D31304). The somewhat disjointed drawing was presumably made while in motion on the water, with an impression of high buildings on either side and a sense of recession beyond which seems to indicate that the view through the arch is to the west-south-west where the canal runs straight after the tight bend. Compare the much more detailed treatment in the 1819 Milan to Venice sketchbook (Tate D14463; CLXXV 77a).
This is the last of a short sequence of sketches made while travelling south-east along the canal between the Canale di Cannaregio and the bridge (folios 12 verso–15 recto; D31300–D31305). As noted in the sketchbook’s Introduction, the Venice views on its early pages are intermingled with German sketches from Turner’s return journey.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See Finberg 1930, p.172.

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