Turner began his formal artistic education in 1789 when, at the age of fourteen, he became a student at the Royal Academy schools. All students were required to spend at least the first three years drawing from plaster casts of famous classical statues. They were then
allowed to graduate to the Life Class.
This is one of the studies Turner made during his time at the Plaster Academy. It was drawn from a cast of a marble statue in the Vatican. Meleager was a Greek hero and a member of the crew of
Jason's famous ship, the Argo.