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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Pissignano and the Temple of Clitumnus, including Sketches of the Portico and Capitals 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 36 Verso:
Pissignano and the Temple of Clitumnus, including Sketches of the Portico and Capitals 1819
D14723
Turner Bequest CLXXVII 36 a
Pencil on white wove paper, 110 x 186 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘P[...]gO’ within sketch top left
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
One of the most celebrated ancient monuments to be found outside of Rome was the Temple of Clitumnus (Tempietto sul Clitunno), a small structure, located on the road between Foligno and Spoleto in Umbria, dedicated to the eponymous river. This sketch depicts the approach from the north. On the slopes to the left above is the medieval fortress of Pissignano which, even in Turner’s day, was a collection of crumbling towers. For similar views see folio 36 (D14722).
As Eustace described in A Classical Tour Through Italy, the temple consists of ‘the cella and a Corinthian portico, supported by four pillars and two pilasters; the pilasters are fluted; two of the pillars are indented with two spiral lines winding round, and two ornamented with a light sculpture representing the scales of fish.’1 The top right-hand section of the page is devoted to detailed studies of the Corinthian columns and the triangular pediment decorated with bas-reliefs. In the centre of the tympanum is the Christian cross which marked the building’s conversion from a pagan place of worship to the Church of San Salvatore. Turner has also recorded the two distinct types of pattern decorating the pillars. For a general discussion of the temple see folio 37 verso (D14725).

Nicola Moorby
November 2008

1
John Chetwode Eustace, A Classical Tour Through Italy, London 1815, vol.1, p.321.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Pissignano and the Temple of Clitumnus, including Sketches of the Portico and Capitals 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2008, 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-pissignano-and-the-temple-of-clitumnus-including-sketches-of-r1138886, accessed 29 May 2022.