Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Villa Madama and the Ponte Molle, Rome

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 114 x 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16182
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 13 a

Catalogue entry

This page contains two studies of the Villa Madama, a sixteenth-century suburban residence built on the eastern slopes of Monte Mario. Turner has drawn the villa from the south-east and in the far distance of the larger sketch can be seen the Ponte Molle, an ancient bridge crossing the River Tiber approximately one mile north-east of the Monte Mario. For a general discussion see folio 36 (D16217).
The Villa Madama was designed by Raphael (1483–1520) and although work on its construction continued after his death under the guidance of Antonio da Sangallo (1484–1564), his full vision was never completed.1 Turner’s inscription in the bottom left-hand corner refers to Raphael’s pupil and assistant, Giulio Romano (c.1499–1546), who was responsible for many of the decorations within the completed section of the building, particularly the frescoes in the salone and the garden loggia. Turner made a more detailed drawing of the villa from the north-west in the Rome: C. Studies sketchbook (see Tate D16352; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 26).
The villa was the subject of one of Turner’s vignette illustrations to Samuel Rogers’s verse poem, Italy, published in 1830 (see Tate D27676; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 159). Jan Piggott has drawn a comparison to some of the pencilled architectural details in another vignette study (see Tate D27659; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 142).

Nicola Moorby
September 2008

1
Marcia B. Hall, Rome: Artistic Centers of the Italian Renaissance, Cambridge 2005, pp.157–8.

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