Joseph Mallord William TurnerStudies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including a Votive Stele to Jupiter Heliopolitanus and the Round Ash Urn of Prastina Fronto 1819

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including a Votive Stele to Jupiter Heliopolitanus and the Round Ash Urn of Prastina Fronto
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
D15137
Turner Bequest CLXXX 17
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 18 Recto:
Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including a Votive Stele to Jupiter Heliopolitanus and the Round Ash Urn of Prastina Fronto 1819
D15137
Turner Bequest CLXXX 17
Pencil on white wove paper, 161 x 101 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil (see main catalogue entry)
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘17’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXX 17’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
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 two objects found in the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery) of the Museo Chiaramonti. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
a.
Cecilia Powell has identified the sketch on the left as a votive stele to Jupiter Heliopolitanus,1 found in the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery) of the Museo Chiaramonti.2 A stele is a vertical stone slab or tablet bearing an inscription or sculptured design. They were often used as grave markers. The Latin inscription on the base of this example begins ‘I.O.M.H.| CONSERVATORI | IMPERII | DN GORDIANI’ and continues to the transcribed text on the right ‘PIL.EFL.INVICTIAVG | L.TREBONIVS. FAB. | SOSSIANVS | COLONIAHIIVPOLI | FRVMI. FG. IIIII.FL. | GORDIANA. E. | P.P’. The artist has also annotated the sketch ‘1077’ and ‘6’ which presumably relate to exhibit numbers displayed on the works. However, they do not appear to correspond to any known lists published within contemporary guide books or catalogues of the Vatican collections.
b.
From the transcribed Latin inscription, Cecilia Powell has identified the sketch in the bottom right-hand corner, ascending the right-hand edge, as the round ash urn of Prastina Fronto,3 also from the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery) of the Museo Chiaramonti.4 The inscription reads ‘D M’ and ‘PRASTINAE.ERONTONIS | SCRIBAE. ADTE. DIESPATRVS’. The first part translates as ‘D[is] M[anibus]’, ‘To the spirits of the departed’, and is a common phrase found on Roman funerary monuments.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Powell 1984, p.413.
2
See Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.I, ‘2. Galleria Lapidaria Seite 161–308’, no.152, pp.279–80, reproduced pl.30.
3
Powell 1984, p.413.
4
See Amelung 1903–8, vol.I, ‘2. Galleria Lapidaria Seite 161–308’, no.151a, p.279, not reproduced.

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