Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lecture Diagram: Geometry of the Figure of St Paul in Raphael’s ‘St Paul Preaching at Athens’

c.1812–28

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Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 586 x 710 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17139
Turner Bequest CXCV 168

Catalogue entry

This unnumbered diagram, based on Raphael’s tapestry cartoon of St. Paul preaching at Athens, was made in connection with Turner’s lectures as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy. It appears to be related to a group of drawings illustrating the way in which geometry enters into art (Tate D17137 and [verso] D40014, D171380; Turner Bequest CXCV 166, 167). These were made after 1812, presumably to supplement Turner’s discussion of the topic in Lecture 1.1 Copies of Raphael’s cartoons by James Thornhill were obtained by the Royal Academy in 1800 and hung in the Great Room at Somerset House.2
1
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 K folio 21 and C folio 18.
2
Jerrold Ziff, ‘Backgrounds, Introduction of Architecture and Landscape’: A Lecture by J.M.W.Turner,’ The Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol.26, 1961, p.134 note 33.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower states that the sheet is Elephant size Whatman paper made by William Balston, at Springfield Mill, Maidstone, Kent.1
1
Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Verso:
Blank, save for an inscription by an unknown hand in pencil ‘162’ bottom left

Andrea Fredericksen
June 2004

Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

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