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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Palazzo Vidoni, Rome 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 64 Verso:
Palazzo Vidoni, Rome 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 63 a
Pencil on white wove paper, 114 x 189 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘6’ to right of windows and ‘6’ below semi-columns on upper level of the building’s façade
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Cecilia Powell has identified the subject of this sketch as the Palazzo Vidoni-Caffarelli, a sixteenth-century palace which stands in the heart of the city of Rome on present-day Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. Turner’s interest in the building would have derived from the belief that its architect was the great Renaissance master, Raphael (1483–1520), the man whose works were considered the pinnacle of artistic achievement during the nineteenth century. Like the statue of Jonah which Turner sketched in the Chigi Chapel of Santa Maria del Popolo, see folio 48 (D16140; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 47), Raphael’s authorship is now considered to be limited and the design of the palace is generally attributed to his student, Lorenzo Lotti, also known as Lorenzetto (1490–1541).1
Turner’s sketch was clearly executed swiftly. It contains just enough visual information to record the key architectural elements of the building’s façade such as the rusticated cladding on the ground floor and the pairs of semi-columns flanking the windows on the first storey. The artist has not troubled to draw the entire length of the palace and instead has indicated the number of times specific features are repeated.

Nicola Moorby
January 2009

Stefan Grundmann, The Architecture of Rome, Stuttgart 1998, pp.138–9.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Palazzo Vidoni, Rome 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 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-palazzo-vidoni-rome-r1139783, accessed 25 February 2021.