Joseph Mallord William Turner

Copy of ‘Mercury and the Three Graces’ by Tintoretto from the Palazzo Ducale; and Sketches of a Plant and Figure


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 88 × 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXI 27 a

Catalogue entry

One of Turner’s key objectives during his 1819 tour of Italy, was to reacquaint himself with the work of the sixteenth-century Venetian school, whose work he had first seen in Paris in 1802. During his stay in Venice he therefore filled a number of pages of the Route to Rome sketchbook with drawings and notes on pictures found in various locations around the city. Ian Warrell has identified the main sketch on this partial page as a schematic copy of Mercury and the Three Graces, 1576–7, by Tintoretto (1518–97) in the Sala dell’Anticollegio of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), Venice. As Warrell notes, sketching in many Italian palaces and galleries was strictly restricted and Turner’s on-the-spot records would therefore have been made surreptitiously.1 Further studies relating to the Palazzo Ducale can be seen on folios 29 (D13913).
Also on this page are rough, on-the-spot sketches of a plant and a figure.

Nicola Moorby
March 2010

Ian Warrell, David Laven, Jan Morris and others, Turner and Venice, exhibition catalogue, Tate Britain, London 2003, p.119.

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