Joseph Mallord William Turner

?The Back of a Reclining Nude in Shadow

c.1834–6

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 77 x 101 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D28826
Turner Bequest CCXCI b 29

Catalogue entry

There seems to be a nude figure here, seated at the centre with its pale back to the viewer, with the right arm reaching towards the knee in the shadows; read this way, the forms suggest a female model, but this is somewhat open to interpretation. There is something of the same sculptural sense of form emerging from shadow in the study on folio 28 verso opposite (D28825).
For a discussion of the improvisatory and often erotic nature of the watercolour studies making up most of this sketchbook, see the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
May 2014

Read full Catalogue entry