Joseph Mallord William Turner

Copies of Poussin’s ‘Landscape, with Diogenes’ and Two Pictures by Claude Lorrain in the Louvre Collection (‘Seaport with the Landing of Cleopatra’ and ‘Landscape, with Samuel Annointing David’); Designs for a Picture Entitled ‘The Prodigal Son’


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 123 x 118 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLVIII 20

Display caption

This sketchbook augments the studies Turner made in the Louvre in 1802, when he had omitted Claude from his survey of favoured artists. Two of the three designs on this page are copied from pictures by Claude: *Seaport with the Landing of Cleopatra in Tarsus* (middle) and *Landscape, with Samuel Anointing David* (bottom). At the top of the page he has copied Poussin's *Landscape, with Diogenes*, a picture he had also admired twenty years earlier. On the other side of the page opening he plays with the composition of the painting of Samuel and David, merging its details with a view of the surburb of St-Cloud to the west of Paris. The book also contains many closely observed studies of the architecture of Rouen.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

On this page Turner demonstrates his dedication to the art of the old masters that he saw on a visit to the Louvre, with two studies after paintings by Claude Lorrain (1600–1682) and one after Nicholas Poussin (1594–1666), accompanied by notes. This is one of four pages on which Turner made studies from paintings in the museum (see folio 19 verso; Tate D24536; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 19a).
At the top of the page is a rather cursory compositional outline of Poussin’s Landscape with Diogenes, 1648 (Musée du Louvre) accompanied by the following inscribed notes:
The sky is warm. Some Blue clouds over the Hadrian’s Villa | to [?]left s[i]d[e] the white or rather yellow clouds are very pure and smaller | than usual with Gaspar. Shadows, of the Building | in the middle of the P[icture]. remarkable | cold Blue, the lights warm, | the shadows of the nearer | Building more reddish grey | or a[...] purple and this | tells in the light almost do. | The trees are grey and dull | green and the whole | foreground cold, the earth part | particularly cold with a few touched of warm red, but the ground | in the Picture never protrudes itself or through the Colours.
The second study (much more carefully outlined than the first) is of Claude’s The Disembarkation of Cleopatra at Tarus, (Le Débarquement de Cléopâtre) c.1641–3 (Musée du Louvre). The flag on the ship is labelled ‘Red’, the figure in the smaller vessel ‘R’ (for his red clothing), two more figures wearing red (‘R’) at the right foreground, and another ‘B’ for brown. A figure at the right of a group of three figures at the centre-right is numbered ‘1’ and two figures at the extreme right are numbered ‘2’ and ‘2’. These numbers are referred to in Turner’s notes, transcribed below:
This is warm, the | sky rather yellow. | The whole of the B[uilding] | in shade excepting the | Porch somewhat warmer | than Brown with | yellow for the lights. The | figures are the darker | parts of the picture, | particularly the Blue | which is only bright | by intensity of Ultra. | The sea is rather | heavy from the <...> | above cause the | Reds are clearer colors. | The ships are <beautiful> | brown and yellow, with red and Blue | among the ornament. The figure below in Red is the | largest portion of pure col. 1 then 2 then the orange in the centre with the striped carpeted | Boats; the Queen of Sheba next, in Blue then 1 and 2 very dark.

Thomas Ardill
February 2013

Read full Catalogue entry

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