Joseph Mallord William Turner

?A Sleeping Figure

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
D18485
Turner Bequest CCX a 4 a

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 the intention and orientation of the sketch are unclear, with what may be a female figure reclining with the head and an arm stretched downwards; the wing-like forms emanating from the shoulders might suggest an angel or a mythical creature. The subject on folio 44 verso (D18524; CCX a 41), which Finberg tentatively interpreted from Turner’s near-illegible inscription as the ‘Fall of Satan’, appears to be related.

Matthew Imms
January 2012

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