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

Joseph Mallord William Turner Study of the Venus de' Medici ?1792

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Study of the Venus de’ Medici ?1792
D00059
Turner Bequest V F
Black chalk and stump on off-white paper, 372 x 266 mm
Stamped in brown ink with the Turner Bequest monogram
Inscribed in red ink ‘V.F’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘V F’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The Medici Venus is, like the Belvedere Apollo (see, in this series of studies, Tate D00056–D00058; Turner Bequest V C–E), a definitive example of classical Greek sculpture of the fourth century BC. The original, executed in marble, originally with added colour to enhance its realism, has been attributed to Praxiteles; the most famous extant copy is the first-century BC marble in the Uffizi, Florence. Another full-length study by Turner in this series is D00060 (Turner Bequest V G); see also D40233 (Turner Bequest XVIII A [verso]) and the verso of the present sheet (D40214).
When he was in Rome in 1828, Turner made a rapid outline study in oils (Tate N05509)1 of a figure similar to that of the Venus de’ Medici, or the closely related Venus Pudica (a late fourth-century work, the earliest extant version of which is in the Capitoline Museum, Rome); Butlin and Joll suppose that since the figure differs from the original in certain respects, Turner drew it from memory.
1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.175 no.298, pl.300.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower points out that this sheet is possibly a drawing paper.1

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

1
Note in Tate catalogue files.

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Study of the Venus de’ Medici ?1792 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2012, 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-study-of-the-venus-de-medici-r1140265, accessed 25 October 2014.