J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Column of Marcus Aurelius, in Piazza Colonna, Rome 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 13 Recto:
Column of Marcus Aurelius, in Piazza Colonna, Rome 1819
Turner Bequest CXCI 13
Pencil on white wove paper, 113 x 189 mm
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘13’ bottom right [very faint]
Stamped in black ‘CXCI 13’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As Finberg correctly identified, this sketch depicts the Piazza Colonna, a square in the heart of Rome, so called because of its main landmark, the Column of Marcus Aurelius. The details of the drawing reveal that Turner must have been standing in front of the Palazzo Chigi and looking across to the south side of the piazza, dominated on the left by the Palazzo Ferraioli and on the right by the Church of San Bartolomeo dei Bergamschi. Rising from the left-hand foreground is the column itself. Erected in AD 180 to commemorate the military victories of Emperor Marcus Aurelius the monument is decorated with marble reliefs and is topped by a bronze statue of St Paul. Related studies can be found on folios 82, 87, 89, 90 and the inside back cover (D16624, D16632, D16635, D16637 and D40957).

Nicola Moorby
February 2009

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Column of Marcus Aurelius, in Piazza Colonna, Rome 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 2009, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-column-of-marcus-aurelius-in-piazza-colonna-rome-r1138401, accessed 17 June 2024.