Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including a Dionysiac Sarcophagus

1819

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 101 x 161 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15189
Turner Bequest CLXXX 43 a

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 contains sketches of objects found in the Museo Pio-Clementino. The studies are numbered from top to bottom:
a.
The sketch appears to depict a sculptural relief with figures, the source of which is currently unidentified.
b.
Cecilia Powell has identified the subject of the lower sketch as a sarcophagus with scenes depicting Dionysius and Aridane.1 Today the object can be found in the North Portico of the Cortile Ottagono (also known as the Cortile Ottagonale, formerly the Cortile del Belvedere).2 The drawing is annotated with the number ‘225’, although it is not known to what this refers.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Powell 1984, p.417; see Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.II, ‘I ... Belvedere’, no.37, pp.88–9, reproduced pl.9.
2
Giandomenico Spinola, Il Museo Pio-Clementino, vol.I, Vatican City 1996, no.PN 6, p.92.

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