Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including a Statue Group of a Satyr and a Faun, and Silenuses Supporting a Fountain


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

Graphite on paper
Support: 161 x 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 48 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 includes sketches of objects found in the Museo Pio-Clementino. The studies are numbered from top to bottom:
The subject of the rough sketch in the top left-hand corner appears to be a sculpture of a forked tree supporting nests filled with the figures of children. This object is found in the first bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri (Gallery of Candelabra, formerly known as the Galleria delle Miscellanee).1 The drawing is annotated with the number ‘1430’.
The subject of the two sketches in the top right-hand corner appears to be variant views of the entwined figures of children from a sculpture of a tree supporting a nest.2 Like the object above (see a.), it is found in the first bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri. The drawing is annotated with the number ‘535’.
The second sketch from the top appears to depict a sculptural fragment, probably the base of a candelabra, adorned with a portrait medallion. The source is currently unidentified. The drawing is annotated with part of a Latin inscription ‘SOLI V’, as well as the number ‘1375’.
Finberg first identified the subject of the sketch second from the bottom as a statue group with a satyr and faun.3 The object, known today as a Satyr removing a thorn from the foot of Pan, is found in the second bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri.4 The drawing is annotated with the number ‘1383’.
Cecilia Powell identified the subject of the bottom sketch as three Silenuses supporting a cup or fountain.5 The object is found in the second bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri.6
Turner’s annotations presumably relate to exhibit numbers displayed on the individual works. However, they do not appear to correspond to any known lists published within contemporary guide books or catalogues of the Vatican collections.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

Ercole Massi, Sculptures and Galleries in the Vatican Palace, New York 2005, reprint of 1873 edition, p.191; see also,s1034f.html>, accessed November 2009.
Ibid., see,s1034f.html>, accessed November 2009.
See also Powell 1984, p.418; Salomon Reinach, Répertoire de la Statuaire Grecque et Romaine, vol. I, Paris 1897, p.412, no.1742, reproduced pl.726.
Giandomenico Spinola, Il Museo Pio-Clementino, vol.III, Vatican City 1999, no.GCSII 9, p.124, reproduced fig.17.
Powell 1984, p.418; Reinach 1897, p.414, no.1770A, reproduced pl.726D.
Georg Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, vol.III, no.2, Berlin 1956, no.40. pp.185–6, reproduced pl.88, and Spinola 1999, no.GCSII 40, p.145, reproduced fig.18.

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