Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: Notes on Art, from Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 88 x 115 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CVIII 39

Catalogue entry

The whole page is taken up with the following notes, following on immediately from opposite (folio 38 verso; D07418), where the sentence begins ‘Gaudentius his [i.e. Lomazzo’s] Master’:
who painted a Cricufix [sic] at the Sepulchre of Varallo wherein | he not only made Horses and Angels, but also in Plastic of a | kind of Earth wrought with his own hand or tutto relievo [‘clean round’ inserted beneath] | throughout the figures. likewise the St Roch
he is omitted by Vasary in his Lives of Painters it was | a common saying in Lombardy that all painters delight to | steall from other inventions but he was in no danger of being detected
Euphranor. statue of Paris that at once gave | the umpire of the 3 Goddiss the Courter of Helen the slaier of Achilles | Parashius [Lomazzo: ‘Parhasius’], idol of the Athenian possessing anger inconstant | implacable gentle mercifull.
Leonardo de Vinci mod[?elled] for Lomazzo says | he found a small earthen Head of Christ which had simplicity | innocence infant[?ine] [Lomazzo: of a childe] with understanding wisdom and majesty | Lomazz [Ziff: Leonardo] mentions a dead Christ cut in marble in the V[...] L[...] [‘in St Peter in Vatican’ inserted above]
Jerrold Ziff has identified these notes as free transcriptions from the 1598 English edition of Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo’s Tracte Containing the Artes of Curious Paintinge Carvinge & Buildinge (see the sketchbook Introduction).1
The anecdote concerning the Italian painter and sculptor ‘Gaudentius’ (Gaudenzio Ferrari, 1475/80–1546)2 is taken from chapter II, ‘Of the Necessitie of Motion’ of ‘The Seconde Booke: Of the Actions, Gestures, Situation, Decorum, Motion, Spirit, and Grace of Pictures’, pages 7 (as far as ‘Varallo’) and 8. The phrase ‘ditutto relieno’ (sic) and its translation, ‘Cleane rounde’, appear as marginal notes. Lomazzo noted the ‘Story of Saint Roccho done by him in Vercelli’. Turner’s second paragraph is slightly scrambled, as ‘in Lombardy’ relates back to Gaudenzio: ‘almost all Lombardy be adorned with his most rare works’. The saying is given by Lomazzo as ‘That all painters delight to steale from other mens inventions, but that he himselfe was in no great danger, of being detected of theft hereafter’. Gaudenzio is also mentioned on folios 34 recto and 39 verso (D07409, D07420).

Matthew Imms
June 2008

Ziff, pp.46, 49 note 6, and ‘Appendix I’, p.50, with transcription of Turner’s notes (followed here with slight variations); see also Davies 1994, p.288; Lomazzo also checked directly.
Riccardo Passoni, ‘Ferrari, Gaudenzio’, Grove Art Online, accessed 30 April 2008,

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