Joseph Mallord William Turner

Commentary on Guercino’s ‘Mars and Venus’ and ‘Virgin and Child’ (Inscriptions by Turner)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 128 × 114 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXII 36 a

Catalogue entry

For Guercino’s Mars and Venus – thought by Turner to be by Domenichino – and Turner’s copy see folio 35 of this sketchbook (D04319). Here Turner concluded his remarks on the picture begun on the recto of this leaf (D04320, for which see catalogue entry for a transcription), before continuing with further commentary on a Virgin and Child, also by Guercino, which he copied, with further colour notes, on folio 37 (D04322). His remarks on the latter picture read:
The Virgin and Child | Here the characters are poor, the Child assuming a graven air by the turn of the Head and raising | of the fingers, but without grace or meekness | or sensibility; The mother is rather inanimate and | listless, and attempts at attention and | adoration of his supposed sagacity. The tone | of this is rich and flesh produced by less of the | U in the half-tone of the flesh and depending | more upon the ground. The reflection warmer | and the glazing Brown to right more over the | whole, but the ground is much warmer than the foregoing picture.

David Blayney Brown
July 2005

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