Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including the Double Urn of C. Licinius C.1. Marius and Licinia C.1. Nysa


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 21

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 four objects, some or all of which were probably found in the Museo Chiaramonti. The studies are numbered from top to bottom:
James Hamilton has identified the sketch at the top as an object, possibly an ash urn, from the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery).1 Turner has transcribed the accompanying Latin texts ‘CNOSSVTIVSCIVL | FELIX | PIISSIMVSEIDELISSIM | DISNAEAL III KEER | AEINIO GALO OS’ and ‘DIC | XV KAV | P.MARIO.ET | AFINIC GALLO IO S’.
This sketch depicts an unidentified sculptural fragment, possibly the top of a grave altar.
A study of part of an Ionic capital, the source of which is currently unidentified.
From the accompanying Latin texts Cecilia Powell has identified the bottom sketch as the double ash urn of C. Licinius C. l. Marius and Licinia C. l. Nysa,2 found in the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery) of the Museo Chiaramonti.3 Turner has transcribed the inscriptions as ‘CLICINVS | CL | MARIO’ bottom left and ‘L. ICINIA | CL | NYSA’ bottom right.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

Conversation with the author, November 2009. The object is today numbered ‘42’.
Powell 1984, p.414.
See Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.I, ‘2. Galleria Lapidaria Seite 161–308’, no.59a, p.208, not reproduced.

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