Joseph Mallord William Turner
Apullia in Search of Appullus exhibited 1814

Artwork details

Apullia in Search of Appullus
Date Exhibited 1814
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1485 x 2410 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Not on display

Display caption

Turner took the subject of this painting from a series of mythological tales called Metamorphoses by the Latin poet Ovid. A shepherd named Appullus has been turned into an olive tree as a punishment for mocking some dancing nymphs. Turner has invented a mythical wife for him, named Apulia. While looking for her vanished husband, she is shown the olive tree on which his name is carved.

The composition is taken almost literally from a Landscape with Jacob and Laban by the seventeenth-century artist Claude Lorrain. This was in the collection of Lord Egremont at Petworth, which Turner knew well.

September 2004

About this artwork