Joseph Mallord William Turner

Diagram of Sections through the Human Body, after Albrecht Dürer


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 88 x 115 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CVIII 55

Catalogue entry

The diagram is not annotated. Maurice Davies has identified it as a version of one from Albrecht Dürer, Underweysung der Messung, Nuremberg 1525, perhaps through a secondary source;1 for most of the other notes in this sketchbook Turner probably consulted books at the British Museum (now held at the British Library, London), but Dürer’s is not listed there.
There is a related perspective lecture diagram (Tate D17135; Turner Bequest CXCV 164), which is comparatively elaborate, with many more superimposed sections through the body, suggesting Turner copied the original more accurately on another occasion. It was the first diagram for the first lecture; the second diagram shows a single section (Tate D17136; Turner Bequest CXCV 165). Another diagram derived from Dürer is on folio 3 verso (D07360).
Davies 1994, p.289.
Technical notes:
There is slight offsetting from the ink heading and diagram opposite on folio 54 verso (D07450).

Matthew Imms
June 2008

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