Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies from Raphael’s Fresco, ‘The Council of the Gods’ in the Villa Farnesina, Rome; and a Landscape with Boats and a Windmill


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 155 × 99 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXII 2

Catalogue entry

Turner’s use of his sketchbooks was often sporadic and this page contains a number of unconnected elements. As his annotations indicate, the sketch in the top left-hand corner of the page depicts the figures of Venus (left) and Juno (right) from Raphael’s fresco, ‘The Council of the Gods’, part of the ceiling decoration of the Loggia di Psiche in the Villa Farnesina, Rome.1 Further sketches related to the loggia can be found on folio 28 verso and 29 verso (D13985 and D13987) and Turner also made notes concerning the ceiling in the Route to Rome sketchbook (see Tate D13884; Turner Bequest CLXXI 14 verso).
Meanwhile, Turner’s inscriptions in the top right-hand corner include a reference to a sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo in the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome. Cecilia Powell has noted that this is a work which James Hakewill (1778–1843) highlighted in his advice to Turner in the Route to Rome sketchbook (see Tate D13924; Turner Bequest CLXXI 35).2 However, it is not known whether the inscription here means that Turner actually saw it.
Aligned with the right-hand edge of the page is a rough sketch of an unidentified landscape with boats. In the foreground on the right is a boat with two figures.

Nicola Moorby
July 2008

Powell 1984, p.405.
Ibid., p.484 note 95.

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