Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of Monte Mario and the Ponte Molle, Rome, and a Sketch of the Villa Mellini


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 5 a

Catalogue entry

The distant hill crowned with trees in this sketch is Monte Mario, a ridge of high ground to the north-west of Rome which represents the highest point in the city. Turner has depicted the hill from the south so it slopes away to the east (right) towards the curving loop of the River Tiber and the arched bridge of the Ponte Molle below. On the summit of the hill, amidst the trees, it is just possible to make out the Villa Mellini, a sixteenth-century house which was built for a wealthy cardinal, Mario Mellini, from whom the name ‘Monte Mario’ derives. Turner has made a small separate study of the villa at the top of the page, probably in order to clarify the architectural details of the façade. Today the building houses the Rome observatory and meteorological station but during the nineteenth century it was noteworthy as the location for one of the best panoramic views across the city, see folio 9 verso (D16174).
The view continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 6 (D16167).

Nicola Moorby
September 2008

Read full Catalogue entry

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