Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of Rome from Villa Madama on Monte Mario


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Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 229 × 368 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 57

Catalogue entry

Some of the most famous panoramas of Rome could be seen from the heights of Monte Mario, a hill to the north of the city. This rough sketch depicts a sweeping view of approximately ninety degrees looking south-east from the Villa Madama, a sixteenth-century estate built for the Medici family on the eastern slopes of the hill. It is extremely close in composition to a watercolour by John Robert Cozens, Villa Madama, Rome 1791 (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester).1 A more detailed version of the subject can be found on another sheet now detached from the sketchbook, see folio 48 (D16377). See this entry for a more detailed discussion of Turner’s depictions of the Villa Madama and Monte Mario.
Like many pages within this book, the drawing has been executed over a washed grey background and Turner has created areas of pale highlights by rubbing through to the white paper beneath.
Reproduced in colour in Anna Ottani Cavina, Un Paese Incantato: Italia Dipinta da Thomas Jones a Corot, exhibition catalogue, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Parigi and Palazzo Te, Mantova, Italy 2001, p.42, no.26.
Blank except for traces of grey watercolour wash; inscribed by an unknown hand(s) in pencil ‘clxxxix 57’ and ‘nr Tivoli?’ bottom right and ‘57?’ bottom left, ascending left-hand edge.

Nicola Moorby
July 2009

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