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

Joseph Mallord William Turner Studies of Sculptural Fragments and Reliefs from the Vatican Museums, Including an Ash Urn and the Funerary Altar of C. Clodius Apollinaris and C. Clodius Primitivus 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 78 Recto:
Studies of Sculptural Fragments and Reliefs from the Vatican Museums, Including an Ash Urn and the Funerary Altar of C. Clodius Apollinaris and C. Clodius Primitivus 1819
D15241
Turner Bequest CLXXX 77
Pencil on paper 101 x 161 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil (see main catalogue entry)
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘77’ top right, ascending right-hand edge
Stamped in black ‘CLXXX 77’ top right, ascending right-hand edge
 
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 three objects from the Museo Pio-Clementino. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
a.
Cecilia Powell has identified the sketch in the top left-hand corner as an ash urn,1 decorated with sculptural reliefs of erotes, garlands and masks. Today the object can be found in the Gabinetto dell’Hermes in the Cortile Ottagono (also known as the Cortile Ottagonale, formerly the Cortile del Belvedere) of the Museo Pio-Clementino.2 The drawing is annotated ‘254’ which presumably relates to an exhibit number displayed on the work. However, it does not appear to correspond to any known lists published within contemporary guide books or catalogues of the Vatican collections.
b.
The sketch in the bottom left-hand corner represents the top of the funerary altar depicted in (c).
c.
Powell has identified the subject of the sketch on the right-hand side of the page as the funerary altar of C. Clodius Apollinaris and C. Clodius Primitivus.3 Turner has transcribed the Latin text from the top and centre of the object ‘C. Clodivs APOLLINARIS | VA.VM. VI D VIII’ and ‘DIS MANIBUS’ and ‘CCLODIVS CF | PRIMITVVS VIXITANN | XIDIEBVS XXV | C CLODIUS SECVNDUS | ET CLODIA PRIMAF’. Today the altar can be found in the South Portico of the Cortile Ottagono (also known as the Cortile Ottagonale, formerly the Cortile del Belvedere) in the Museo Pio-Clementino.4

Nicola Moorby
December 2009

1
Powell 1984, p.421; see Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.II, ‘2 Belvedere’, no.86, pp.232–3, reproduced pl.22.
2
Giandomenico Spinola, Il Museo Pio-Clementino, vol.I, Vatican City 1996, no.HER 4 and 5, p.88.
3
Powell 1984, p.421; see Amelung 1908, vol.II, no.80, pp.216–7, reproduced pl.21.
4
Spinola 1996, vol.I, no. PS 4 and 5, p.54.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Studies of Sculptural Fragments and Reliefs from the Vatican Museums, Including an Ash Urn and the Funerary Altar of C. Clodius Apollinaris and C. Clodius Primitivus 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2009, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, December 2012, http://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-studies-of-sculptural-fragments-and-reliefs-from-the-vatican-r1139653, accessed 18 April 2014.