Joseph Mallord William Turner

Concert-champêtre, after Giorgione/Titian


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 56 a

Catalogue entry

The Louvre’s famous and mysterious allegory of music and love, a masterpiece of the Venetian tradition of figures in a landscape, was supposed to have belonged to the Gonzaga in Mantua and then to Charles I in London, before being certainly acquired by Louis XIV. It was long ascribed to Titian, then to Giorgione (Giorgio Barbarelli before 1477–1510), leaving the possibility that the copy after that painter listed in the inventory of contents then in Turner’s house but now untraced (Turner Bequest Schedule, 21 June 1854, no.315)1 was of this subject. It has since most often been given to Titian, while Charles Hope has recently suggested Domenico Mancini.2 Its old title of ‘Pastoral’ had changed to Concert-champêtre by the time the state museum opened at the Louvre in 1793. Its many admirers and copyists since are discussed by Haskell and also by Cuzin.3
Joseph Farington recorded in his diary for 5 October 4 seeing the picture – ‘a Titian which [Henry] Fuseli calls “the Loves of the Fountain”’ – taken down from the Salon carré to make way for the contemporary Salon. He also observed ‘Turner drawing’ – Warrell suggests making this copy. Turner’s copy continues on folio 57 of this sketchbook (D04348), and see also its verso (D04349) for his remarks on the picture. Haskell cited these as an early example of Romantic interest in its colouring and realistic portrayal of the body, but sensed that Turner was also embarrassed by its frank display of nudity. As Haskell thought the copy too faded to reproduce, his point was allowed to stand, but seems unlikely since in fact the drawing focuses in most detail on the nude figure at the fountain which indeed Turner described as both ‘charmingly colour’d and graceful’. Ziff 5 went so far as to suggest ‘incidentally’ that Turner borrowed the figure for one second from right in his picture The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of the Hesperides, 1806 (Tate N00477).6 The correspondence, however, is not exact. Finberg, followed by Cuzin, believed that Turner first made his Paris sketch in pencil and then coloured the figure from memory, at which point his rendering strayed somewhat from the original.

David Blayney Brown
July 2005

National Gallery Archive.
See Warrell 2003, p.262 note 14.
Cuzin and Dupuy 1993, pp.200–3.
Kenneth Garlick and Angus Macintyre eds., The Diary of Joseph Farington, vol.V, New Haven and London 1979, p.1901.
Ziff 1963, p.321.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.44–6 no.57 (pl.67).

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