J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Architectural Details of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, seen from Raphael's Loggia 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 21 Verso:
Architectural Details of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, seen from Raphael’s Loggia 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXIX 21 a
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 186 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘maps’ top left, and ‘17’ within centre of top storey, ‘14’ within centre of middle storey, and ‘11’ within centre of lower storey. Also Latin text (see main catalogue entry)
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
One of the most significant series of studies dating from Turner’s 1819 trip to Rome was the sequence of on-the-spot pencil sketches relating to the Loggia of Raphael, a colonnaded porch on the second floor of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, decorated by Raphael (1483–1520) and his studio. Turner made a closely detailed visual record of the loggia, particularly concentrating on the southern end of the interior and the decoration of the first three bays and window arches, see folios 13 verso–21 (D14955–D14965). He also made several studies related to the view from the windows of the sixteenth-century loggia looking towards St Peter’s Square. From these drawings evolved the artist’s first finished oil painting following his Italian tour, the vast canvas Rome from the Vatican. Raffaelle Accompanied by La Fornarina, Preparing his Pictures for the Decoration of the Loggia exhibited 1820 (Tate, N00503).1
The sketches on this page represent architectural elements of the Apostolic Palace, looking from the Loggia of Raphael towards the wing on the opposite side of the Cortile San Damaso. In Rome from the Vatican, this is the building seen through the window arch on the left-hand side of the picture. At the top of the page Turner has depicted the façade of the palace with its top three stories of arcades. The study incorporates a detailed record of a single bay of one of the arcades with the balustrade above, and a glimpse of the decorations within the interior of the upper two stories, including the ‘maps’ on the walls of the top floor corridor. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the page is a sketch of the roofline of the same wing of the palace. Further sketches of the exterior of this building can be found on folio 25 (D14970).
In the bottom right-hand corner, Turner has transcribed a Latin inscription: ‘SIXTUS PONT MAX | ÆDES LOCO APERTO AC | SALVBRI – | IGRATO VRBIS ASPECTI | INSIGNES | PONTIFICVM COMMODAT | ATI FELICT – | AD MDXC PONTIF VI’.
Further studies related to the evolution of Rome from the Vatican can be found on folios 24–26 (D14969–D14972), as well as an elaborate compositional drawing in pen and ink in the Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16368; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 41).

Nicola Moorby
January 2010

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.228.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Architectural Details of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, seen from Raphael’s Loggia 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2010, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-architectural-details-of-the-apostolic-palace-in-the-vatican-r1137598, accessed 23 January 2018.