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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Piazza d'Italia, Turin, with Santa Croce 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 35 Recto:
Piazza d’Italia, Turin, with Santa Croce 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXIV 34
Pencil on white wove paper, 111 x 186 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘P[...]’ within sketch, bottom left, ‘Santa Croce | Piazza di Italia’ bottom centre, and ‘top of Cupola’ ascending right-hand edge, and ‘5’, ‘6’ and ‘4’ within façade of building, centre left
Inscribed by John Ruskin in blue ink ‘34’ top right and ‘284’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXIV 34’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As Turner’s inscriptions indicate this sketch depicts a square in Turin called Piazza d’Italia, an area which has undergone various topographical changes since the early nineteenth century and is now part of the larger Piazza della Repubblica.1 The artist has made a detailed study of the architecture of the square including the dome and campanile of the Church of Santa Croce rising at the back.2 He did not have quite enough room on the sheet to complete the full height of the cupola of the church and therefore made a separate sketch of this detail on the far right-hand side. A small part of the composition depicting the nearby Porta Palatina spills over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 34 verso (D14211; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 33a).
For a list of further sketches of Turin see folio 12 (D14166; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 11).

Nicola Moorby
January 2013

A map of 1834 shows Piazza d’Italia to the north-west of the historic centre, situated at the southern end of ‘Piazza di Emanuele Filiberto’, formerly Piazza Vittoria and now present-day Piazza della Repubblica. The area is now used as a marketplace. Map is reproduced on-line at http://taurinorum.com/FotoLibri/Torino-1834.gif, accessed January 2013.
Santa Croce has also undergone significant chances and is now known as the Basilica Mauritiana.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Piazza d’Italia, Turin, with Santa Croce 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, August 2013, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-piazza-ditalia-turin-with-santa-croce-r1142733, accessed 16 January 2021.