Venice, the Piazzetta with the Ceremony of the Doge Marrying the Sea by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851). c.1835. Oil on canvas, 914 x 1219 mm. Courtesy of Tate Britain (Accession no. N04446. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856). Click on image to enlarge it.

Commentary from Tate Britain Online (2004)

Although this painting is unfinished, it is possible to imagine how Turner would have developed it. The top half of the Doge's Palace and the Campanile of San Marco are recognisable, but Turner abandoned the picture before bringing it to the detailed finish of other Venetian subjects dating from the 1830s. Among the group of figures in the foreground on the left is the Doge, depicted in the act of wedding the sea through the ritualised gift of a gold ring. The ceremony had ceased to take place by Turner's time, which implies that he intended the picture to be an historical subject.

Last modified 13 May 2016w