Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of Rome from the North, with St Peter’s and Monte Mario


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 130 × 255 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXC 55

Catalogue entry

By the nineteenth century, exploration of the city’s environs had become as much part of the Roman experience as its architecture and monuments. Turner made a large number of studies of the landscape north of the city, and many of the views within this sketchbook appear to relate to a single perambulation from Sant’Agnese fuori le mura to Ponte Sant’Angelo, by way of the ancient Ponte Molle, also known as the Ponte Milvio (for further information see the sketchbook introduction). The subject of this sketch is the view looking south from the western bank of the river, at a point near present-day Ponte Duca d’Aosta, the Foro Italico and the Olympic Stadium. The area of high ground on the right is Monte Mario, with the Villa Mellini visible amongst the trees on the crest of the hill and the Villa Madama on the lower slopes to the far side. Along the horizon is the distant silhouette of the dome of St Peter’s whilst in the foreground, the River Tiber bisects the centre of the page, curving its way downstream towards the city. Related sketches of a similar view can be found on folios 47 verso and 48 (D40577 and D16468; Turner Bequest CXC 53).
Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background. Turner has created areas of pale highlights by lifting or rubbing through to the white paper beneath, principally to delineate the course of the river and cloud formations within the sky.
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘791’ top right, inverted and by unknown hands in pencil ‘791’ and ‘CXC 55’ top right, inverted.

Nicola Moorby
June 2009

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop