Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of the River Tiber with Sant’Andrea in Via Flaminia, Rome


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 57

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 the view of the River Tiber looking north (or upstream) from a point near present-day Ponte Giacomo Matteoti with the heights of Monte Mario on the left. On the far right-hand side of the river bank is the small sixteenth chapel of Sant’Andrea in Via Flaminia, also known as Sant’Andrea del Vignola after its architect, Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola (1507–73). The church or tempio, which has an elliptical dome over a square base was commissioned by Pope Julius II to celebrate his escape from imprisonment during the 1527 Sack of Rome. The composition and viewpoint of Turner’s sketch is similar to that of a painting by Vanvitelli, Passonata del Tevere fuori Porta del Popolo circa 1678 (Gabinetto Nazionale dei Disegni e delle Stampa, Rome).1 The building can also be seen in folios 50 and 52 (D16471 and D16474; Turner Bequest CXC 56 and 58).
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.
Reproduced in Jörg Garms, Vedute di Roma Dal Medioevo all’ottocento: Atlante iconographico, topografico, architettorio, Naples 1995, L.52, p.504. See also a watercolour by John ‘Warwick’ Smith, A View of the Via Flaminia, not dated (Thomas Ashby Collection, Vatican Library), reproduced in Raymond Keaveney, Views of Rome from the Thomas Ashby Collection in the Vatican Library, exhibition catalogue, Smithsonian Institution, Washington 1988, no.58, p.[223], reproduced in colour.
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘777’ top right, inverted and by an unknown hand in pencil ‘CXC’ top right, inverted

Nicola Moorby
October 2009

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