Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Group of Figures, Possibly including Satyrs Engaged in Sexual Activity

c.1810

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 115 x 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D18508
Turner Bequest CCX a 27

Catalogue entry

As discussed in the introduction, most of the drawings in this book are rapid figure studies, many of which are explicitly erotic; others may be similar in intent, but are difficult to make out, and may be of classical or biblical subjects. Here there appears to be a figure lying at the bottom left, with two or more very fragmentary, dynamic figures above. The undulating quality of the outlines may have suggested the part-animal forms of satyrs or fauns evoked in Finberg’s title. If this was Turner’s intention, the theme seems to be developed on folio 30 recto (D18509; CCX a 28), where the figures may have horns. There appear to be more nymphs and satyrs on folios 35 recto and 36 recto (D18514, D18515; CCX a 33, 34).
Verso:
Blank

Matthew Imms
January 2012

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