Joseph Mallord William Turner

Statue of the Dea Roma in the gardens of the Villa Medici, Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 130 × 255 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXC 12 a

Catalogue entry

The subject of this drawing is a large statue of the Dea Roma (the personification of Rome as a goddess) in the gardens of the Villa Medici.1 In 1822, this sculpture was moved to its current position behind the Dauphin Fountain at the end of the grand allée beside the outer wall of the Villa Medici, parallel with the public walkway in the Borghese park from the Pincio.2 A further sketch can be seen in the St Peter’s sketchbook (Tate D16274; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 65). In the bottom right-hand corner there is a figure of a woman who appears to be washing in a fountain.
Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background and Turner has created areas of pale highlights by rubbing or lifting through to the white paper beneath.

Nicola Moorby
May 2009

See Hans Naef, Ingres in Rome, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington 1971, no.12 p.10, reproduced p.12, and photograph in Marco Bussagli, ‘The Rome of the Saints: the Baroque’ in Marco Bussagli (ed.), Rome: Art & Architecture, Cologne 1999, p.524.
Bernard Toulier, La Villa Médicis, vol.I, Rome 1989, p.80 under no.54.

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