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

Joseph Mallord William Turner Studies of Sculptural Fragments and Reliefs from the Vatican Museums, Including the Funerary Altar of L. Cornelius Atimetus and L. Cornelius Epaphra 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 12 Recto:
Studies of Sculptural Fragments and Reliefs from the Vatican Museums, Including the Funerary Altar of L. Cornelius Atimetus and L. Cornelius Epaphra 1819
D15125
Turner Bequest CLXXX 11
Pencil on white wove paper, 161 x 101 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil (see main catalogue entry)
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘110’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXX 11’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
During his 1819 stay in Rome, one of Turner’s most extensive sketching campaigns was the large number of pencil studies made from the sculpture collections of the Vatican Museums (for a general discussion, see the introduction to the sketchbook). This page contains sketches of various objects, most or all of which were probably found in the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery) of the Museo Chiaramonti. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
a.
The sketch in the top left-hand corner depicts an unidentified gravestone, inscribed with the Latin text ‘DIS MANIBIS | LIVI [...]’.
As Andrew Wilton first identified, the remaining sketches all pertain to the funerary altar of L. Cornelius Atimetus and L. Cornelius Epaphra,1 from the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery) of the Museo Chiaramonti.2 These comprise:
b.
The sculptural relief from the right-hand side of the monument depicting two figures in a cutler’s shop.3
c.
A general three-quarter view of the monument, including the Latin inscription from the front which the artist has transcribed as ‘I CORNELIUS | ATIMETVS | SIBIET . LCORNELLO | ERAS HRAELIB | BENEMENTI | CERISQ LIBERTIS | LIB . POSTERISQUE | FORUM’.
d.
The sculptural relief from the left-hand side of the monument depicting two figures in a blacksmith’s forge.4
Cecilia Powell has noted that within these drawings Turner has varied the pressure applied to his pencil in order to distinguish between high and low reliefs.5

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Wilton 1971, under no.67. See also Powell 1984, p.412.
2
See Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.I, ‘2. Galleria Lapidaria Seite 161–308’, no.147, pp.275–7.
3
Reproduced in Amelung 1903–8, vol.I, pl.30, top right.
4
Ibid., pl.30, top left.
5
Powell 1984, p.131 note 20 and Powell 1987, p.52.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Studies of Sculptural Fragments and Reliefs from the Vatican Museums, Including the Funerary Altar of L. Cornelius Atimetus and L. Cornelius Epaphra 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2009, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-studies-of-sculptural-fragments-and-reliefs-from-the-vatican-r1139537, accessed 19 December 2014.