Joseph Mallord William Turner

St Roch Interceding for Victims of the Plague, after Peter Paul Rubens

1802

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

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 128 x 114 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04345
Turner Bequest LXXII 55

Catalogue entry

As first observed by Ziff, this is a partial copy of Rubens’s (Peter Paul Rubens, 1577–1640) altarpiece, dated 1632, taken from the cathedral church of St Martin in Alost, Belgium, and returned after 1815. It reproduces only the central lower half of the composition, where plague sufferers writhe and plead before an arched bridge. Rubens was an artist who grew on Turner, as he did on the Romantic generation in general. Turner was primarily interested in his landscape effects, which he found impressive if inclined to be meretricious; see his notes on Rubens’s Landscape with a Tournament and Landscape with a Rainbow, folios 77 verso and 79 of this sketchbook (D04375, D04376).
Verso:
Blank

David Blayney Brown
July 2005

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