Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of Tivoli, from Monte Catillo


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 82

Catalogue entry

The rough nature of this drawing makes the details of the subject difficult to identify. However, it appears to represent a general view of Tivoli from the summit of Monte Catillo to the east. The arch visible in the middle distance is the medieval gate of Porta Cornuta, whilst in the far distance to the west is the flat plain of the Roman Campagna. Similar studies can be found in the Tivoli and Rome sketchbook (Tate D15080; Turner Bequest CLXXIX 80a) and in the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16119; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 31). Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background. Turner has created highlights within the work by rubbing or lifting out the wash to reveal the white paper beneath, principally to depict the former course of the River Aniene winding through the town, before plunging as the ‘Grand Cascade’ at a point near the so-called Temple of Vesta on the right. After a devastating flood in 1826 the river was diverted away from the residential district, altering both the topography of the town, and the site of the waterfall.
Blank, except for traces of grey watercolour wash

Nicola Moorby
February 2010

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