Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Rio and Ponte della Pietà, Venice, with the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in the Distance

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 173 × 123 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31792
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 1 a

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, the view is south-south-west along the Rio della Pietà, off the Riva degli Schiavoni, where the Ponte della Pietà crosses in the middle distance. Deceptively prominent, as if just beyond the bridge, is the familiar campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore, on its island across the Bacino, with three arched gables to its left and the nearest of the slender twin domes above the church’s roof immediately to its right, with the main dome shown too close. As with the view in the opposite direction on the recto (D31791), the viewpoint seems to be the bridge along the Calle de la Pietà.
Presumably because of the unfamiliarity of the subject and the presence of the readily recognisable domes and campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) opposite (D31793), Finberg called the present page ‘Canal, with Campanile and St. Mark’s in distance’,1 albeit later noting: ‘Side Canal, with Campe. & St Marks (or S. Giorgio) beyond’.2 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell questioned the St Mark’s identification without offering another.3
1
Finberg 1909, II, p.1009.
2
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, opposite p.1009.
3
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1009.
Technical notes:
There is a greenish stain at the top centre owing to the proximity of the green leather loop secured under the front pastedown preceding this leaf (D41118).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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