Joseph Mallord William Turner

Details of the Decorations of Raphael’s Loggia in the Vatican: The Frescoes of ‘Raphael’s Bible’ from the Fourth and Fifth Vaults of the Ceiling

1819

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: 186 x 112 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D14964
Turner Bequest CLXXIX 20

Catalogue entry

Turner made a closely detailed visual record of the Loggia of Raphael in the Vatican, particularly concentrating on the southern end of the interior and the decoration of the first three bays and window arches. From these drawings evolved the artist’s first finished oil painting following his Italian tour, the vast canvas Rome from the Vatican. Raffaelle Accompanied by La Fornarina, Preparing his Pictures for the Decoration of the Loggia exhibited 1820 (Tate, N00503).1 The sketches on this page represent parts of the decorative fresco scheme from the fourth and fifth vaults of the loggia’s ceiling. These are comprised of scenes from ‘Raphael’s Bible’ as well as other elements. The fourth vault is depicted on the right-hand side of the page, including anti-clockwise from the bottom:
a
Abraham and the Three Angels by Giovanfrancesco Penni (1488/96–1528).2 Turner has annotated the sketch with various colour notes, ‘Y’, ‘R’, ‘Y’, ‘Grey’, ‘Yellow L | and Blue Shad’, ‘D L Y | B D’, and ‘L Purple | Y [?sardi]’.
b
The Promise from God to Abraham by Giulio Romano (circa 1499–1546).3 The sketch, which also includes a significant section of the ornamental decoration on either side of the scene, is variously inscribed with colour notes, ‘P’, ‘Co’, ‘W | Green’, ‘Gold | [?and Shad]’, ‘Blue’, ‘G’, ‘B’, ‘Laurel O’, ‘Pink’, ‘Light | R Red’, ‘Abraham and [...]’, ‘yell’, ‘[?Moses] | and [V...] [B...]’, and ‘Cho and Pink’.
c
The Flight of Lot by Luca Penni (1500/4–1557)4 inscribed with colour notes, ‘Yell light’, ‘LP’, ‘LG’, ‘L’ and ‘Y’.
d
The winged victory or angel from the centre of the vault. Below this sketch Turner has noted the position of the fourth biblical scene from this section, ‘Aram and Mel’, i.e. Abraham and Melchizedek by Giulio Romano.5
On the left-hand side of the page, parallel with the spine of the sketchbook, Turner has recorded a single scene from the fifth vault:
e
Isaac and Esau by Guillaume de Marcillat (circa 1467/70–1529), as well as an ornamental scene to the right, annotated ‘V Yell’ and ‘E and I’.6 This is the scene which, like the Creation of the Animals, the Creation of Eve, and the Sacrifice of Noah is positioned on the north-facing side of the vault and therefore visible when looking towards the southern end.
1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.228.
2
Nicole Dacos, Le Logge di Rafaello: Maestro e bottega di fronte all’antico, Rome 1977, no.IV.3, reproduced Tav.XX. and Nicole Dacos, The Loggia of Raphael: A Vatican Art Treasure, New York and London 2008, pl.113, p.153.
3
Dacos 1977, no.IV.2, reproduced, Tav.XIX and Dacos 2008, pl.112, p.152.
4
Dacos 1977, no.IV.4, reproduced Tav.XXI and Dacos 2008, pl.114, p.154.
5
Dacos 1977, no.IV.1, reproduced, Tav.XIX and Dacos 2008, pl.111, p.151.
6
Dacos 1977, no.V.4, reproduced Tav.XXIV and Dacos 2008, pl.118, p.159.
7
Dacos 1977, no.VI.2 and Dacos 2008, pl.120, p.161.
8
Dacos 1977, no.VI.3 and Dacos 2008, pl.121, p.162.
9
Dacos 1977, no.VII.2 and Dacos 2008, pl.124, p.166.
10
Dacos 1977, no.VII.3 and Dacos 2008, pl.125, p.167.
11
Dacos 1977, no.VIII.2 and Dacos 2008, pl.128, p.170.
12
Dacos 1977, no.VIII.3 and Dacos 2008, pl.129, p.171.
13
Dacos 1977, no.IX.2. and Dacos 2008, pl.132, p.175.
14
Dacos 1977, no.IX.3 and Dacos 2008, pl.133, p.176.
15
Dacos 1977, no.X.2 and Dacos 2008, pl.136, p.179.
16
Dacos 1977, no.X.3 and Dacos 2008, pl.137, p.180.
17
Dacos 1977, no.XI.3 and Dacos 2008, pl.141, p.184.
18
Dacos 1977, no.XII.2 and Dacos 2008, pl.144, p.187.
19
Dacos 1977, no.XII.4 and Dacos 2008, pl.145, p.188.
20
Dacos 1977, no.XIII.2 and Dacos 2008, pl.148, p.190.
21
Dacos 1977, no.XIII.3 and Dacos 2008, pl.149, p.191.

Nicola Moorby
January 2010

Read full Catalogue entry

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