Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including a Statue of Diana, a Sculpture of a Sleeping Eros, and a Relief of Wrestlers

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
D15205
Turner Bequest CLXXX 51 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 left to bottom right:
a.
The sketch in the top right-hand corner depicts an cylindrical urn, possibly the cineraria of Publius Cicereius Cotilio.1 The object can be found in the second bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri (Gallery of Candelabra, formerly known as the Galleria delle Miscellanee).
b.
The subject of the central sketch at the top is a statue of Diana with a dog, found in the Galleria dei Candelabri.2 Turner has annotated the drawing with the number ‘1587’.
c.
The subject of the sketch in the top right-hand corner is a sculptural group comprising three separate elements: a cylindrical vase with a Bacchic relief; a cylindrical base; and the lower part of a candelabrum decorated with acanthus leaves.3 The group can be found in the fourth bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri. Turner has annotated the drawing with the number ‘1607’.
d.
The sketch on the left-hand side of the centre of the page depicts a statue of a sleeping Eros, also found in the fourth bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri.4 Turner has annotated the drawing with the number ‘1612’.
e.
The sketch second from bottom left depicts a three legged table found in the second bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri.5 The legs of the table are in the form of protome (a frontal view of an animal or human bust) of Hercules.
f.
The sketch second from bottom right depicts a three-legged table with the legs in the form of protome of lions.
g.
The central bottom sketch depicts two tragic masks, part of a sculptural relief from a column base found in the second bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri.6
h.
The sketch in the bottom right-hand corner depicts a relief with wrestlers. The object is also found in the second bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri.7

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Georg Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, vol.III, no.2, Berlin 1956, no.79, p.213, reproduced pl.101 and Giandomenico Spinola, Il Museo Pio-Clementino, vol.II, Vatican City 1999, no.GCII 79, p.171, reproduced fig.20.
2
See http://sights.seindal.dk/photo/9142,s1034f.html>, accessed November 2009. See Lippold 1959, no.106, p.363 reproduced pl.156.
3
Georg Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, vol.III, no.2, Berlin 1956, nos.97–99, pp.355–8, reproduced pls.154 and 156, and Spinola 1999, nos.GCSIV 97–99, pp.283–6, reproduced figs.30 and 3.
4
Lippold 1956, no.107, p.364, reproduced pl.155, and Spinola 1999, no.GCSIV 107, pp.290–1, reproduced fig.31.
5
Lippold 1956, no.61, p.197, reproduced pl.94.
6
Spinola 1999, no.GCII 75, p.169, reproduced fig.20.
7
Lippold 1956, no.84, pp.219–20, reproduced pl.101, and Spinola 1999, no.GCII 84, p.175, reproduced fig,20.

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