Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of the Port and Castel Nuovo, Naples, from the Immacolatella

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
D15633
Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 39 a

Catalogue entry

This view of the old port in Naples is taken from the vantage point of the Immacolatella, the eighteenth-century quarantine station which still stands on the waterfront near present-day Molo Immacolatella Vecchia.1 The sketch looks south-west towards the entrance to the Mole in the left-hand foreground with the Castel Nuovo (also known as the Maschio Angioino) beyond. Also visible at the top of the hill in the top right-hand corner of the composition is the Certosa di San Martino and the Castel Sant’Elmo. Extensive redevelopment in the port since the early nineteenth century has rendered the scene virtually unrecognisable today.
The inscription in the top left-hand corner is transcribed from the façade of the Immacolatella. Built during the 1740s by Neapolitan architect Domenico Antonio Vaccaro (1678–1745), the building is so called because of the statue of the Virgin which surmounts the front, see folio 40 (D15632; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 39). The Latin phrase, ‘IN CONCEPTIONE TUA VIRGO IMMACULATA FUISTI’ (which roughly translates as ‘In thy conception O Virgin, you were immaculate’), is taken from the traditional Catholic devotions to the Madonna and can be found directly beneath the statue.

Nicola Moorby
May 2010

1
In eighteenth-century topographical engravings the building is known as the Palazzo della Deputazio.

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