Joseph Mallord William Turner

Vesuvius from Castel Nuovo, Naples

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 122 × 197 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15684
Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 63

Catalogue entry

This sketch depicts the northern side of the Castel Nuovo, a large fortress also known as the Maschio Angioino, which stands beside the quayside near the main port in Naples. The castle appears in a number of Turner’s drawings of the city but this view looks east from the north-west corner of the former outer walls and moat in the direction of the seafront (present-day Piazza Municipio). The vast outline of Monte Somma and Vesuvius with its smoking crater dominates the background.1 Further studies of the Castel Nuovo can be seen on folios 59–59 verso, 64 verso, 65 verso and 69 verso (D15670–D15671, D15683, D15685 and D15693; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 57–57a, 62a, 63a and 67a).
Also in the bottom right-hand corner of the page, parallel with the right-hand edge is a small thumbnail sketch which appears to depict a view of the port and Castel dell’Ovo with Vesuvius in the background.

Nicola Moorby
June 2010

1
For a similar composition see a painting by Antonio Joli (circa 1700–1777), The Castle Esplanade (Alisio Collection, Naples), reproduced in Roberto Middione and Brigitt Daprà, Reality and Imagination in Neapolitan Painting of the 17th to 19th Centuries, exhibition catalogue, City Art Centre, Edinburgh 1988, no.21, pp.24 and 59.

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