Joseph Mallord William Turner

Venice: The Punta della Dogana, with the Zitelle in the Distance - Early Morning

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 223 x 285 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15256
Turner Bequest CLXXXI 6

Catalogue entry

Finberg subsequently annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Venice: Punta della Salute’): ‘Dogana & Salute’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell added in another copy: ‘The Dogana and Zitelle from the Europa sunrise’.2 Bell similarly annotated Finberg’s In Venice with Turner (1930).3 Looking south across the Grand Canal, the view is centred on the monumental porch of Venice’s customs house, the Dogana di Mare, now the Punta della Dogana contemporary art museum, with the dome and twin bell towers of the church of Le Zitelle (Santa Maria della Prezentatione) across the Giudecca Canal to the south-south-east. Turner’s low viewpoint was in front of the Palazzo (or Ca’) Giustinian (later the Hotel Europa, and now the headquarters of the Venice Biennale).4 Finberg described ‘a morning scene. Nearly all the Zitella [sic] and Dogana are in shadow, but the sun catches the side of the Patriarchal Seminary, stains the near water yellow, and gilds the hulls and masts of some of the fishing boats.’5
Although the Seminario Patriarcale is introduced as a vertical accent above the roofline on the right, in reality it is proportionately about twice as far from the porch as suggested here, Turner having laterally compressed the long, flat canal front of the Dogana, treating its articulation of doorways and arched windows somewhat hazily in the process. The same proportions are common to other treatments of the juxtaposed buildings discussed below.
Lindsay Stainton has observed that this watercolour and another showing the church on the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore (D15254; Turner Bequest CLXXXI 4) effectively form a panorama,6 and stated that the oil painting The Dogano, San Giorgio, Citella, from the Steps of the Europa, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1842 (Tate N00372),7 was ‘based on’ them.8 There is a detailed pencil drawing of the Dogana from the same viewpoint in the smaller contemporary Milan to Venice sketchbook (Tate D14389; Turner Bequest CLXXV 40); Andrew Wilton has suggested that it informed this watercolour,9 and Ian Warrell has noted that the pencil study establishes ‘the essence’ of the view,10 and proposed that it could have been utilised for the 1842 painting in conjunction with others in the Milan to Venice book showing prospects to the left (Tate D14442; Turner Bequest CLXXV 66a, with San Giorgio) and to the right (Tate D14417; CLXXV 54).11 Probably fortuitously, a watercolour of about 1840, The New Moon (the Punta della Dogana, with the Zitelle Beyond) (private collection)12 is also topographically comparable.
1
Undated MS note by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.535.
2
Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.535.
3
Undated MS note by Bell (before 1936) in copy of Finberg 1930, Prints and Drawings Study Room, British Museum, London, p.168, as transcribed by Ian Warrell (undated notes, Tate catalogue files).
4
See Wilton 1975, p.52, Wilton 1982, p.40, and Stainton 2985, p.42.
5
Finberg 1930, p.23.
6
See Stainton 1985, pp.33, 42; see also Warrell 2003, p.88.
7
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.245–6 no.396, pl.400 (colour); see also Wilton 1975, p.52.
8
Stainton 1985, p.33.
9
Wilton 1975, p.52.
10
Warrell 1993, p.292; Warrell 1994, p.116.
11
Warrell 2003, p.263 note 6; see also Warrell 2008, pp.57, 67 note 3.
12
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.464 no.1365; see also Butlin 1974, p.152, and Butlin and Joll 1984, p.245.
13
Including comments from Clark and others 1959, p.264, Wilton 1979, p.142, Wilton 1982, pp.40–1, Powell 1984, p.43, Powell 1987, p.16, Warrell 1993, p.292, Warrell 1994, p.116, Jan Morris and Ian Warrell in Warrell 2003, pp.12 and 16 respectively, and Warrell 2008, pp.57, 67 note 1.
14
Stainton 2985, p.42.
15
Warrell 1993, p.292, and Warrell 1994, p.116; see also Warrell 2003, p.88.
16
Warrell 2003, p.88; see also Warrell 2008, p.57.
17
Ibid.; see also further discussion in Warrell 2008, p.57.
18
A.J. Finberg, ‘Turner’s Work’, no date, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.V, laid in at folio 82.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

1
Shanes 1997, p.36.
2
Ibid., pp.36–7.
3
Ibid., p.37.
4
See ibid., p.24, and Eric Shanes, Young Mr Turner: The First Forty Years 1775–1815, New Haven and London 2016, pp.49–65.

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