Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including a Female Seated Figure with the Grave Urn of Tiberius Octavius Diadumenus

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: 161 x 101 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15176
Turner Bequest CLXXX 37

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.
Cecilia Powell has identified the subject of the upper sketch as a fragment of a female seated figure and the base upon which it stands, the grave urn of Tiberius Octavius Diadumenus.1 Today these two objects are found in the East Portico of the Cortile Ottagono (also known as the Cortile Ottagonale, formerly the Cortile del Belvedere) in the Museo Pio-Clementino.2 The base is decorated with reliefs and Turner has transcribed the Latin text from the front as ‘D M | TI OCTAVI | DIADVMEN’. He has also annotated the drawing ‘47’, 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.
b.
Powell has identified the lower sketch as part of a child’s sarcophagus found in the Sala del Meleagro (Gallery of the Meleager) in the Museo Pio-Clementino.3

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Powell 1984, p.416. See Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.II, ‘I. Belvedere’, nos.7 and 7a, pp.26–9, reproduced pl.4. See also pl.3.
2
See Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.II, ‘I. Belvedere’, nos.7 and 7a, pp.26–9, reproduced pls.3 and 4. See also Giandomenico Spinola, Il Museo Pio-Clementino, vol.I, Vatican City 1996, no.PE 29, pp.43–4.
3
Powell 1984, p.416; see Amelung 1908, vol.II, no.14a, p.44, reproduced pl.4.

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