Joseph Mallord William Turner

?The Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice, with the Pietà, from the Molo beside the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace); Boats; the Unfinished Façade of the Pietà


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 123 × 173 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 19

Catalogue entry

Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘View on canal’): ‘? End of Giudecca’.1 Turned both ways horizontally, this somewhat scrappy page may, rather than the Canale and Isola della Giudecca, show the Riva degli Schiavoni looking east along the Bacino waterfront and then south-eastwards across the Canale di San Marco towards the loosely outlined trees of the Giardini Pubblici.
This would make the arches in the foreground those at the south-east corner of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), beside the Ponte della Paglia, with the first building beyond being the Pietà, distinguished by the thermal clerestory window on its west side and rough indications of its half-finished entrance façade. Compare the small sketch from this direction on folio 4 recto (D31797).
Reinforcing the case for this identification of the main view, at the bottom right corner, the other way up, is a detail of the elevation of the south front of the Pietà, its marble facing and half-columns only complete to the height of the central doorway; compare a view in the 1819 Venice to Ancona sketchbook (Tate D14500; Turner Bequest CLXXVI 7), and the slighter variant on folio 10 verso of the present book (D31810).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, opposite p.1010.

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