Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including Part of a Frieze with Erotes and Panthers, a Statuette of Kneeling Pan, the Ash Urn of A. Caecilius Anicetus, and a Wounded Amazon


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 161 x 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 32

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 several objects, most or all of which were probably found in the Museo Chiaramonti. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
Cecilia Powell has identified the top sketch as depicting a fragment of a frieze with erotes and panthers in the Museo Chiaramonti.1
Powell has identified the sketch on the left-hand side of the second row from the top as a statuette of kneeling Pan, also from the Museo Chiaramonti.2
Powell has identified the sketch on the right-hand side of the second row from the top as a fragment of a frieze from the Villa Adriana, near Tivoli, now in the collection of the Museo Chiaramonti.3 The detail depicts animals and erotes (winged gods of love).
Powell has identified the sketch on the left-hand side of the third row from the top as the ash urn of A. Caecilius Anicetus, from the Museo Chiaramonti.4 Turner has omitted to transcribe the Latin text from the front of the urn.
Powell has identified the sketch in the bottom right-hand corner as a wounded Amazon,5 which today can be found in the collections of the Museo Braccio Nuovo.6
The sketch in the bottom left-hand corner depicts a statue of a headless satyr carrying a smaller satyr, which today can be found in the Museo Chiaramonti.7
Cecilia Powell has suggested that sketches of female sculpture such as the Wounded Amazon on this page may have provided inspiration for the foreground figures in Turner’s later oil painting,8 Phyrne Going to the Public Baths as Venus – Demosthenese Taunted by Aeschines exhibited 1838 (Tate, N00522).9

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

Powell 1984, p.415; see Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.I, ‘Museo Chiaramonti I’, p.629 (as under no.485–7), reproduced pl.66, lower left.
Ibid; see Amelung 1903–8, vol.I, no.486, p.628, reproduced pl.66, far left of lower shelf.
Ibid; see Amelung 1903–8, vol.I, no.439, p.597, reproduced pl.62, lower right.
Ibid; see Amelung 1903–8, vol.I, no.350a, p.537, reproduced pl.55, bottom centre.
See Amelung 1903–8, vol.I, ‘Braccio Nuovo’ no.44, p.63, reproduced pl.7.
See Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Bildkatalog der Skulpturen des Vatikanischen Museum: Museo Chiaramonti, Berlin and New York 1995, vol.I, reproduced pl.699.
Powell 1987, pp.59 and 203 note 42.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.373, reproduced pl.378.

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