Joseph Mallord William TurnerStudies of Sculptural Fragments from the Sala dei Filosofi and the Salone of the Palazzo Nuovo in the Capitoline Museums, Rome 1819

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Sala dei Filosofi and the Salone of the Palazzo Nuovo in the Capitoline Museums, Rome
From Vatican Fragments Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CLXXX
Date 1819
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 161 x 101 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15210
Turner Bequest CLXXX 54
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 55 Recto:
Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Sala dei Filosofi and the Salone of the Palazzo Nuovo in the Capitoline Museums, Rome 1819
D15210
Turner Bequest CLXXX 54
Pencil on white wove paper, 161 x 101 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘54’ top left, inverted
Stamped in black ‘CLXXX 54’ top left, inverted
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
In addition to sketching in the Vatican Museums, Turner made a thorough study of the ancient Greek and Roman sculptures in the Palazzo Nuovo of the Capitoline Museums. The drawings on this page represent works from the Salone (Great Hall) and the Sala dei Filosofi (Hall of the Philosophers), so called because it contains rows of busts and portraits depicting poets, philosophers and orators from Ancient Greece. All of the subjects were first identified by Cecilia Powell. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
a.
The sketches at the top of the page and on the left-hand side of the second row depict part of a frieze with instruments of ritual sacrifice and naval symbols.1 The line of the relief continues from the right-hand side of the upper row to the left-hand side of the lower, and represents, from left to right, a litus (symbol of the augur), an albogalerus (type of helmet), an aspergillum or sprinkler, a sacrificial axe, a sacrificial knife, an incense box, a wine-jug, a bowl, a fringed towel, and a bucranium (ox skull motif). The frieze, originally from the Roman Forum, is displayed on a wall within the Sala dei Filosofi. Related studies can be found on folio 54 verso (D15209; Turner Bequest CLXXX 53a). Powell has noted that these curious shapes had also been sketched by Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665) amongst his drawings from the antique during the seventeenth century.2
b.
The sketch on the right-hand side of the second row depicts the prow of a warship from a frieze in the Sala dei Filosofi.3
c.
The sketch on the left-hand side of the third row depicts the prow of a warship from another frieze in the Sala dei Filosofi.4
d.
The subject of the third sketch from the top right-hand corner is a second-century circular altar base decorated with sculptural reliefs.5 This view shows the figure of Artemis. The base supports a black marble statue of Zeus in the Salone, visible in a near-contemporaneous drawing by James Hakewill (1778–1843), Rome. Antiques of the Capitol. Saloon 1817 (British School at Rome Library).6
e.
The two sketches in the bottom left-hand corner represent two sides of a four-sided base decorated with sculptural reliefs illustrating the legend of Zeus.7 The upper sketch depicts the Rhea and Chronus, whilst the lower depicts two Corbyants and a goat. Studies of the two remaining panels can be seen on folio 55 verso (D15211; Turner Bequest CLXXX 54a). The base supports a sculpture of the Infant Hercules in the Salone, visible in another near-contemporaneous drawing by James Hakewill (1778–1843), Rome. Antiques of the Capitol. Saloon 1817 (British School at Rome Library).8

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Powell 1984, p.419; H. Stuart Jones, A Catalogue of the Ancient Sculptures preserved in the Municipal Collections of Rome. The Sculptures of the Museo Capitolino, Oxford 1912, ‘Stanza dei Filosofi’ no.100, p.261, reproduced pl.61. See also the Capitoline Museums online collection records, http://www.museicapitolini.net/urn?urn=urn:collectio:0001:scu:00604, accessed November 2009.
2
Powell 1987, p.56.
3
Powell 1984, p.419; Jones 1912, ‘Stanza dei Filosofi’ no.102, p.262, reproduced pl.61. See also http://capitolini.net/urn?urn=urn:collectio:0001:scu:00606.
4
Powell 1984, p.419; Jones 1912, ‘Stanza dei Filosofi’ no.105, p.263, reproduced pl.62. See also http://capitolini.net/urn?urn=urn:collectio:0001:scu:00609.
5
Powell 1984, p.419; Jones 1912, ‘Salone’ no.1a, p.273, reproduced pl.65, no. 1A1. See also http://capitolini.net/urn?urn=urn:collectio:0001:scu:01995.
6
See Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.5M.33, reproduced p.334.
7
Powell 1984, p.419; Jones 1912, ‘Salone’ no.3A, p.276, reproduced pl.66, nos. 3A2 and 3A3. See also http://capitolini.net/urn?urn=urn:collectio:0001:scu:01944.
8
See Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.5M.31, reproduced p.331.

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