Joseph Mallord William TurnerStudies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including the Front of a Sarcophagus 1819

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including the Front of a Sarcophagus
From Vatican Fragments Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CLXXX
Date 1819
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 101 x 161 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15187
Turner Bequest CLXXX 42 a
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 43 Verso:
Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including the Front of a Sarcophagus 1819
D15187
Turner Bequest CLXXX 42 a
Pencil on paper 101 x 161 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘142’ (see main catalogue entry)
 
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 objects found in the Museo Pio-Clementino. The studies are numbered from top to bottom:
a.
Cecilia Powell has identified the subject of the top sketch as the front of a sarcophagus with a representation of the Porta dell’Ade.1 Today the object can be found in the West Portico of the Cortile Ottagono (also known as the Cortile Ottagonale, formerly the Cortile del Belvedere).2 The drawing is annotated ‘142’ which presumably relates to an exhibit number displayed on the work. However, it does not appear to correspond to any known lists published within contemporary guide books or catalogues of the Vatican collections.
b.
The small sketch at the bottom of the page represents a fragment of a sculptural relief with figures, the source of which is currently unidentified.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Powell 1984, p.417; see Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.II, ‘2. Belvedere’, no.60, p.153, reproduced pl.17.
2
Giandomenico Spinola, Il Museo Pio-Clementino, vol.I, Vatican City 1996, no.PO 9, p.76, reproduced fig.10.

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