Joseph Mallord William Turner
Studies of Egyptian Artefacts in the Vatican Museums, Including a Torso of the Bull God, Apis, and a Statue of Isis 1819

Artwork details

Artist
Title
Studies of Egyptian Artefacts in the Vatican Museums, Including a Torso of the Bull God, Apis, and a Statue of Isis
From Vatican Fragments Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CLXXX
Date 1819
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 161 x 101 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15206
Turner Bequest CLXXX 52
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

During his 1819 stay in Rome, one of Turner’s most extensive sketching campaigns was the large number of pencil studies made from the sculpture collections of the Vatican Museums (for a general discussion, see the introduction to the sketchbook). This page includes sketches of artefacts from the Egyptian collections. After 1839 these were housed in the Museo Gregoriano Egizio (Gregorian Egyptian Museum), founded by Pope Gregory XVI. Turner’s sketches include a torso of a statue of the bull god Apis (second from the right),1 and a statue of the goddess Isis with a child. Turner has labelled the latter ‘1359’ which presumably relates to an exhibit number displayed on the work. However, it does not appear to correspond to any known lists published within contemporary guide books or catalogues of the Vatican collections.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Possibly no.5.18 in the Hemicycle of the Museo Gregoriano Egizio, see cat. 22808, http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MEZ/MEZ_Sala05.html>, accessed November 2009.

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