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“Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino” by J.M.W. Turner

JMW Turner - Modern Rome - Campo Vacino

“Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino” by J.M.W. Turner

“Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino” by J.M.W. Turner is a landscape vision of the unexcavated Roman Forum, still called the Campo Vaccino meaning “Cow Pasture”, shimmering in the hazy light. Ten years after his final journey to Rome, Turner envisioned Rome from his memory. With churches and ancient monuments in and around the Roman Forum dissolving in bright colours as the light from the moon is rising on the left and the sun is setting behind the Capitoline Hill at the right.

This picture’s light effects exemplify Turner at his most accomplished, with Turner evoking less a place in the real world and more a place in the imagination.

“The moon is up, and yet it is not night.
The sun as yet divides the day with her.” 

– Lord Byron

Images of Classical, Renaissance and Baroque Rome dominate the canvas, but in the foreground amidst these ancient splendours and history, the city’s inhabitants carry on with their daily activities in the emerging shadows of the Capitoline Hill.

Joseph Mallord William Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner, later more commonly called J. M. W. Turner entered the Royal Academy of Art in 1789, aged 14, and his first watercolour was accepted for the Royal Academy summer exhibition of 1790 when Turner was 15. From a young art student trained in executing topographical watercolours, he became one of the most original artists of his time. Turner was a Romantic painter, printmaker and watercolourist, today known for his vivid colouration, imaginative landscapes and turbulent marine paintings. As a private, eccentric and reclusive figure, Turner was controversial throughout his career. He left over 2,000 paintings and 19,000 drawings and sketches.

Explore Joseph Mallord William Turner

Reflections

  • Can you imagine a time when the Roman Forum was Cow Pasture?

Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino

  • Title:                         Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino
  • Artist:                       J.M.W. Turner
  • Year:                         1839
  • Medium:                  Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions             90.2 cm × 122 cm (35.5 in × 48 in)
  • Museum:                 Getty Museum

Joseph Mallord William Turner

  • Name:             Joseph Mallord William Turner
  • Born:               1775 – Covent Garden, London, England
  • Died:               1851 (aged 76)  – Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, England
  • Nationality:   English
  • Movement     Romanticism
  • Famous Works:

J. M. W. Turner Quotes

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“To select, combine and concentrate that which is beautiful in nature and admirable in art is as much the business of the landscape painter in his line as in the other departments of art.”

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“I have no secret but hard work. This is a secret that many never learn, and they don’t succeed because they don’t learn it. Labour is the genius that changes the world from ugliness to beauty and the great curse to a great blessing.”

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“I know of no genius but the genius of hard work.”

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“I don’t paint so that people will understand me; I paint to show what a particular scene looks like.”

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“It is necessary to mark the greater from, the lesser truth: namely, the larger and more liberal idea of nature from the comparatively narrow and confined; namely that which addresses itself to the imagination from that which is solely addressed to the eye.”

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“It is only when we are no longer fearful that we begin to create.”

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“If I could find anything blacker than black I’d use it.”

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There’s a sketch at every turn.

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“I did not paint… to be understood. I wished to show what such a scene was like.”

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“Painting can never show her nose in company with architecture but to have it snubbed.”

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Getty Museum

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“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
– Michelangelo

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Photo Credit: 1) J. M. W. Turner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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