Joseph Mallord William Turner

Details of the Decorations of Raphael’s Loggia in the Vatican: the Third External Pier


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 186 x 112 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXIX 17

Catalogue entry

The sketches on this page relate to Turner’s recreation of the Loggia of Raphael on the right-hand side of the painting Rome from the Vatican. Raffaelle Accompanied by La Fornarina, Preparing his Pictures for the Decoration of the Loggia exhibited 1820 (Tate, N00503).1 They depict the fresco and stucco decorations on the third external pier of the loggia (i.e. the pillar between the second and third windows from the end) and comprise two distinct groups, from top left to bottom right:
Details of the stucco and grotesque decorations from the facing (front) side of the third external pier. The upper section is recorded on the left-hand side and the lower part is continued on the top right-hand side. The stucco medallions from this pilaster comprise, from top to bottom: a falcon with a Medici Ring; a soldier with a spear and shield; hunters; and a portrait head of Giovanni da Udine.2 Turner has variously annotated the sketch with colour notes from the top to bottom: ‘Bl’, ‘Red’, ‘Purple Globe’, ‘Yellow’, ‘Lake Shadow | Blue Lights’, ‘Butterfly Cho Or Blue and R Purple | W’, ‘Yell’, ‘Purple’, ‘Dark’, ‘Dark Pink Red Yellow’, ‘Yel’, ‘Red’, ‘Dark G | The Darker Subjects | Like Fruit’, ‘Or’, ‘White’, ‘Butterfly’, ‘Red’, ‘B’, ‘Red’.
In the bottom left-hand corner are three successive strips representing the details of the grotesque decorations on the right-hand side of the facing third external pilaster.3 Each sketch succeeds the next from the top (left) to middle (centre), to bottom (right). The sketch is inscribed ‘Top of side of [?Frescoes]’ and then variously ‘[...]B’, ‘P’, ‘Y’, ‘O’, ‘G’, ‘G’, ‘O’, ‘B’, ‘Yell | Porpoise | Red’, ‘G’, ‘P’, ‘Red’, ‘Red’ and ‘Yellow’.
The third pilaster appears in Rome from the Vatican to the immediate right of the foreground figure of Raphael. The facing side is just visible, although the oblique angle makes the details of the decoration difficult to decipher and it is the lateral side which is more clearly represented, see folio 18 verso (D14962). Further studies related to the evolution of Rome from the Vatican can be found on folios 13 verso–16 verso, 18–21 verso and 25–26 (D14955–D14959, D14961–D14966 and D14970–D14972), as well as an elaborate compositional drawing in pen and ink in the Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16368; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 41). For a full description of the loggia and Turner’s sketches see folio 14 (D14956).
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.228.
See Nicole Dacos, Le Logge di Rafaello: Maestro e bottega di fronte all’antico, Rome 1977, p.265, reproduced Tav.CII, as ‘b) Pilastro III, opposto’. The details are repeated on the lower part of the third internal pilaster, see the engraving by Volpato, reproduced in Dacos 1977, Tav.LXXXIX a).
The details are repeated on the third internal pilaster, see the engraving by Volpato, reproduced in Dacos 1977, Tav.LXXXIX a).

Nicola Moorby
January 2010

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