Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study of the Altar of Hercules from the Vatican Museums

1819

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 161 x 101 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15153
Turner Bequest CLXXX 25

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). Cecilia Powell has identified this sketch as depicting an altar dedicated to Hercules.1 Today the object can be found in the centre of the Cortile Ottagono (also known as the Cortile Ottagonale, formerly the Cortile del Belvedere) in the Museo Pio-Clementino.2 A drawing of the female figure which sits on top of the monument can be seen on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 25 verso (D15152; Turner Bequest CLXXX 24a).

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Powell 1984, p.414. See Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.II, ‘2. Belvedere II. Seite 153–404’, no.102r, pp.296–7, reproduced pl.17, right.
2
Spinola 1996, COR 6, pp.117–8.

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