153. [N05497] The Finding of Moses c. 1805?
THE TATE GALLERY, LONDON (5497)
Canvas, 59 1/4 × 44 (150·5 × 111·5)
Coll. Turner Bequest 1856 (?259, ‘1 (Figure subject)’ 4'11 1/2" × 3'8 1/2"); transferred to the Tate Gallery 1947.
Lit. Davies 1946, p. 160; Ziff 1980, p. 169.
The identification of the subject is due to Mary Chamot; Martin Davies' title was ‘Three Women and a Baby (unfinished)’. The picture, as yet unrestored, is difficult to date. Although more roughly painted than The Procuress (No. 152 [N05500]) it seems, like that picture, to represent Turner's reaction to the Venetian pictures he saw in the Louvre in 1802, in particular the works of Titian and Veronese. Turner's renewed interest in figure subjects on this scale as a result of his second visit to Italy in 1828–9 seems to have resulted in works of a rather richer texture, whether thinly painted like the Reclining Venus (No. 296 [N05498]) or more heavily worked up like Two Women and a Letter (No. 448 [N05501]).
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984