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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner St Peter's, Rome, from the Vatican Walls near Torre San Giovanni 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
St Peter’s, Rome, from the Vatican Walls near Torre San Giovanni 1819
D16341
Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 15
Red chalk, pencil and grey watercolour wash on white wove ‘Valleyfield’ paper, 231 x 369 mm
Stamped in black ‘CLXXXIX 15’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The subject of this sketch is a view of St Peter’s in Rome. Turner’s location is a point outside the western perimeter of the Vatican walls, near to Torre San Giovanni, looking east across to the famous basilica and Michelangelo’s distinctive dome. The viewpoint is very similar to that of an oil painting by Vanvitelli (Gaspar van Wittel, 1653–1736), L’abside di San Pietro dai giardini Vaticani (private collection).1 Like many drawings within this sketchbook, this composition has been executed over a washed grey background and Turner has created areas of pale highlights by lifting or rubbing through to the white paper beneath. He has also employed naturalistic touches of red chalk to indicate the brickwork of the wall in the foreground.
1
Reproduced in colour in Cesare de Seta, L’Italia del Grand Tour da Montaigne a Goethe, Naples 1996, p.139.
Verso:
?Blank (float mounted to support).

Nicola Moorby
October 2009

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘St Peter’s, Rome, from the Vatican Walls near Torre San Giovanni 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, October 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-st-peters-rome-from-the-vatican-walls-near-torre-san-r1132463, accessed 23 May 2022.