Joseph Mallord William TurnerFull-length Study of the Vatican Discobolus ?1791

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Full-length Study of the Vatican Discobolus
Date ?1791
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 480 x 302 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D00068
Turner Bequest V P
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Full-length Study of the Vatican Discobolus ?1791
D00068
Turner Bequest V P
Pencil ?and black chalk on white wove paper, 440 x 277 mm
Watermark ‘J WHATMAN’
Inscribed in red ink ‘V.P’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘V P’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is presumably an unfinished outline study; see also the outline drawing on the verso (D40219), which has added tone applied with the stump. In the present case, the subject was outlined in faint pencil before being strengthened with chalk, or possibly a softer pencil. The Discobolus is one of the most famous works of Greek sculpture from the fifth century BC, the bronze original by Myron being known by several Roman copies in marble; one is in the Vatican Museum, Rome; another, acquired in Italy by Charles Townley, was acquired as part of Townley’s collection by the British Museum, London. Another drawing of the Discobolus, made later in Turner’s time at the Plaister Academy, is Tate D00067 (Turner Bequest V O).
Technical notes:
The white wove paper bears the watermark ‘J WHATMAN’. This paper, frequently used by Turner, was made by James Whatman at his Turkey Mill, Maidstone, Kent. Peter Bower suggests that the sheet was probably from the same batch as Tate D00065 (Turner Bequest V M), also from this series of studies after the Antique. The edges of the sheet have been damaged by the use of Scotch tape.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012