Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Temples at Paestum, with a Distant View of the Mountains


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 29 a

Catalogue entry

Turner visited the celebrated fifth-century BC Greek temples of Paestum, the southernmost destination on his 1819 tour of Italy. This page contains two sketches relating to that expedition. At the top is a view of all three ruins from the south-east. On the left are the so-called Basilica and the adjacent Temple of Neptune, actually both religious buildings dedicated to Hera. The artist has annotated his drawing with the number of Doric columns at the front of each structure. On the far right is the Temple of Athena, formerly known as the Temple of Ceres. The mountains in the distance are those of the Amalfi coast and the Sorrentine peninsula. The lower vista meanwhile represents the view looking in the opposite direction across the plain towards the Lattari mountains.
For a more detailed discussion and other sketches of Paestum see folio 31 (D15968; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 29).

Nicola Moorby
July 2010

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