Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of St Peter’s, Rome, from San Pietro in Montorio


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXII 79 a

Catalogue entry

Like many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century visitors to Rome, part of Turner’s exploration of the city included the panoramic views seen from certain elevated vantage points. One of the most famous of these was the Janiculum Hill (or Gianicolo), a ridge of high ground to the west of the River Tiber which offered sweeping vistas across the historical centre of the capital. The details of this composition are very rough but the recognisable dome of St Peter’s, the distant line of mountains and the hill sloping away to the right suggests that the drawing represents the view looking north from the Janiculum. The artist’s viewpoint appears to be the Church of San Pietro in Montorio. A similar view from the nearby Pauline Fountain is the subject of a sketch on the opposite page, see folio 81 (D15450; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 80). For further sketches from the Janiculum see folio 39 verso–40 (D15369–D15370). A detailed study of the view from San Pietro in Montorio can be found in the Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16328; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 2).

Nicola Moorby
May 2008

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