Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views from the Canale della Giudecca, Venice, Including the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, the Zitelle Church, Santa Maria della Salute and the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 × 184 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXVI 20

Catalogue entry

Finberg subsequently elaborated on his basic 1909 Inventory entry (‘Two sketches on the canal’): ‘2 sketches. on top. S. Giorgio from Giudecca with the Zitella [sic] on right. below. Salute & Dogana. from Giudecca, with S. Giorgio on right | “Dark Blue at the Horizon”. “Sky purple” – “mass of Light”, “Cold” “Blue”, &[c] | ?lower part of the Canale di S. Marta [...] end of Schiavoni from Zattere, with S. Giorgio & Zitella [sic] on right’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell wrote in another copy: ‘Panorama San Giorgio in middle abv. Ducal Palace below’.2 Bell similarly marked Finberg’s more detailed text in In Venice with Turner (1930): ‘The above has S. Giorgio in the middle, ... below the Ducal Palace’.3
There are upper and lower drawings here, showing aspects of the same panoramic scene. The viewpoint is the south side of the Canale della Giudecca, about level with the Redentore church on the Isola della Giudecca, with the Venice waterfront at the left along the Riva degli Schiavoni and beyond, receding behind the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore at the centre, dominated by the porch, dome and campanile of its church. To the east on the right is the Zitelle church, on the Giudecca itself.
Below is a slightly less detailed view, with the church of Santa Maria della Salute to the north-north-east, and the campanile and domes of San Marco (St Mark’s) across the Bacino beyond. Somewhat laterally compressed, the right-hand third corresponds with the left-hand two thirds of the first view, ending with a cursory outline of the church of San Giorgio Maggiore.
This and the following two pages (the verso and folio 21 recto; D14526–D14527), are the last pencil drawings of Turner’s 1819 survey of Venice in terms of the foliated sequence of this sketchbook and the complementary Milan to Venice book (Tate; Turner Bequest CLXXV). They are unusually heavily annotated with observations of light and colour under cloudy skies, which Finberg described as ‘records of sunset and stormy effects’,4 although as there is no indication of the disk of the sun itself the occasion could alternatively be the early morning. An atmospheric watercolour study in the larger contemporary Como and Venice sketchbook (Tate D15255; Turner Bequest CLXXXI 5), looking east across the Bacino around dawn, relates topographically to the drawing on the verso (D14526), and Ian Warrell has suggested that it may represent a recollection based on the effects noted on these pages rather than being painted on the spot; see also folio 11 recto (D14508).5

Matthew Imms
March 2017

Undated MS note by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, opposite p.517.
Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.517.
Undated MS note by Bell (before 1936) in copy of Finberg 1930, Prints and Drawings Study Room, British Museum, London, p.167, as transcribed by Ian Warrell (undated notes, Tate catalogue files).
Finberg 1930, p.61.
See Warrell 2003, pp.88, 263 note 7.

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