Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including the Grave Altar of Attia Agele

1819

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 101 x 161 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15162
Turner Bequest CLXXX 30

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 two sketches of funerary monuments from the Museo Chiaramonti. The studies are numbered from left to right:
a.
Cecilia Powell has identified the sketch on the left-hand side of the page as a grave altar in the Museo Chiaramonti.1 The object is inscribed with the Latin text ‘DIS | MANIBVS | SACRVM’, a common text on Roman funerary monuments which translates as ‘Sacred to the spirits of the departed’.
b.
Powell has further identified the sketch on the right-hand side of the page as the grave altar of Attia Agele, also in the Museo Chiaramonti.2 The monument is inscribed with the Latin text ‘DIIS MANIBVS | ATTIAE.AGELE’.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Powell 1984, p.414; see Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.I, ‘Museo Chiaramonti I Seite 309–560’, no.198, pp.447–8, reproduced pl.46, bottom centre.
2
Powell 1984, p.414; see Amelung 1903–8, vol.I, no.322F, pp.523–4, reproduced pl.54, bottom left.

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