Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of the River Tiber from near the Porto di Ripetta, with the Castel Sant’Angelo and St Peter’s in the Distance


Not on display

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 61

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 Rome 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 a view of the River Tiber looking downstream towards the heart of the city. Turner’s viewpoint is a location on the present-day Lungotevere in Augusta, in between Ponte Regina Margherita and Ponte Cavour. Various landmarks can be seen in the distance including, from left to right: the Porto di Ripetta; the dome of Sant’Andrea della Valle; the twisting corkscrew shaped lantern of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza; the dome of Santa Maria in Vallicella; the Janiculum Hill; and, on the far right-hand side, Castel Sant’Angelo and the dome of St Peter’s. Similar views can be found on folios 56 and 57 (D16478 and D16480; Turner Bequest CXC 62 and 63), and also in the St Peter’s sketchbook (Tate D16279–D16280; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 67a–8). In Turner’s day the river ran much closer to the Via Flaminia, but this changed in the late nineteenth century after demolition of the Porto di Ripetta and the construction of the Tiber embankments.
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 reflections on the surface of the water and cloud formations in the sky.
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘778’ top right, inverted and by unknown hands in pencil ‘CXC.61?’ top right, inverted and ‘778’ bottom left

Nicola Moorby
June 2009

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