Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of Vesuvius and the Church of Santa Maria della Sanità, Naples, from the Ponte della Sanità


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 122 × 197 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 65 a

Catalogue entry

The Ponte della Sanità is a viaduct in Naples, built during the early nineteenth century to carry the new road, Nuova Strada di Capodimonte or Corso Napoleone (present-day Corso Amedeo di Savoia), north from Via Toledo and the lower city centre to Capodimonte. This sketch depicts the view looking east from the bridge towards Vesuvius and Monte Somma. On the left-hand side of the composition is the seventeenth-century Church of Santa Maria della Sanità (also known as the Chiesa di San Vincenzo), which lies in the square beneath the bridge in a crowded quarter of the city. The basilica is built on the plan of a Greek cross with one central dome and twelve smaller lateral domes, Turner’s viewpoint depicts the south-east corner of the church with the campanile, part of the main dome and three of the lateral domes, which eighteenth- and nineteenth-century images show used to be topped by individual cupolas as here.1 The buildings on the right-hand side are unidentified and no longer extant but appear to represent a palazzo built on the slopes of the hill leading to Castel Sant’Elmo. For a related drawing of the Sanitá bridge and church see the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16112; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 24).

Nicola Moorby
June 2010

See for example Luigi Gentile (dates not known), Veduta della nuova strada di Capodimonte, gouache, 1805 (Collezione Santangelo, Naples), reproduced in colour in Giuseppe Marcenaro and Piero Boragina, Viaggio in Italia: Un corteo magico dal Cinquecento al Novecento, exhibition catalogue, Palazzo Ducale, Genoa 2001, VII.44, p.227.

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