Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Bay of Baiae, with Apollo and the Sibyl exhibited 1823

Artwork details

The Bay of Baiae, with Apollo and the Sibyl
Date Exhibited 1823
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1454 x 2375 mm
frame: 1718 x 2630 x 138 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Display caption

Here Turner has used Baiae, in the Bay of Naples, as the backdrop for the myth of Apollo and the Cumaean Sibyl. The latter asked the Roman god to grant her life for as many years as the grains of sand she could hold in her hand. However, she omitted to ask for eternal youth and wasted away until only her voice remained. The poignant theme of her story is reflected in Turner’s landscape. The passage of time has wrought changes to the Roman architecture of the resort, but the golden beauty of the landscape remains undiminished.

February 2010

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