Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of Tivoli and Monte Catillo, from the Villa of Quintilius Varus


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 200 × 253 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXIII 29

Catalogue entry

Turner’s exploration of Tivoli included a large number of landscape sketches drawn from the valley to the north. He was particularly attracted by the spectacle of the town’s ancient ruins perched above the steep, wooded gorge and streaming cascatelli (or cascatelle), the lesser cascades of the River Aniene. This study depicts the view looking east towards Monte Catillo with the town at the top of the slopes on the opposite side of the valley. Visible landmarks include, from right to left, the campanile of the Cathedral (Duomo) of San Lorenzo, the substructures supporting the Piazza dell’Olmo (present-day Piazza Domenico Tani), and a medieval watch-tower overlooking the cascatelli at the north-eastern tip of the town. Turner’s viewpoint is a location near the ruins of the Villa of Quintilius Varus, adjacent to the Santuario di Quintiliolo (Church of the Madonna of Quintiliolo) situated on the northern slopes of the valley. Remnants of the foundations as well as broken fragments of masonry can be seen amidst the trees within the foreground on the left-hand side. Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background.
Similar views can be found on folios 30, 37 and 38 (D15497, D15504 and D15505), as well as in the Tivoli and Rome sketchbook (Tate D15027 and D15035; Turner Bequest CLXXIX 54a and 58a).
Blank, except for traces of grey watercolour wash

Nicola Moorby
February 2010

Read full Catalogue entry

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