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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.

Many of Turner’s paintings can be found in museums across the world, depict famous landscapes and seascapes:

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:


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


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