Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views with Shipping off the Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice, with the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) in the Distance

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 123 × 173 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31890
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 51

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, there are two related drawings here. Finberg later annotated his basic 1909 Inventory entry (‘Shipping and distant buildings’): ‘2 sk[etches] from basin of S. Marco’.1 Above is a laterally compressed, somewhat frenetic panorama of the familiar scene, ranging south across the Bacino to the campanile and dome of San Giorgio Maggiore on the left, with tiny indications of the domes of the Giudecca churches beyond a forest of masts. Towards the centre is the dome of Santa Maria della Salute to the west, with the soaring campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) next above the Riva degli Schiavoni waterfront, running east towards the right.
The tiny crescent stroke at the top left indicates the newly waxing moon, as seen in two contemporary Venetian colour studies (Tate D32225 D32230; Turner Bequest CCCXVIII 6, 11). During Turner’s 20 August–3 September 1840 stay in Venice this phase coincided with the second week, between the new moon on 27 August and its first quarter on the day he left.2
Below is an expanded variant of the right-hand half of the upper sketch, looking west along the Riva to the campanile from off the Ponte della Pietà, labelled towards the bottom right. Compare the slightly more detailed view on folio 50 verso opposite (D31889).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1011.
2
See ‘Moon Phases for Venice, Italy’, timeanddate.com, accessed 6 September 2018, https://www.timeanddate.com/moon/phases/italy/venice?year=1840.

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