Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Sala del Fauno and the Sala del Galata of the Palazzo Nuovo in the Capitoline Museums, Rome

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 161 × 101 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15215
Turner Bequest CLXXX 56 a

Catalogue entry

In addition to sketching in the Vatican Museums, Turner made a thorough study of the ancient Greek and Roman sculptures in the Palazzo Nuovo of the Capitoline Museums. The drawings on this page represent works from the Sala del Fauno (Hall of the Faun) and the Sala del Galata (Hall of the Dying Gaul, formerly known as the Stanza del Gladiatore). All of the subjects were first identified by Cecilia Powell. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
a.
The sketch in the top left-hand corner depicts a famous nude statue of the goddess Aphrodite covering herself with her hands, known as the Capitoline Venus.1 Turner would have seen the work in the Stanza del Gladiatore (now known as the Sala del Galata), but today it can be found in the Gabinetto delle Venere (Cabinet of Venus), formed in 1830–4. His knowledge of this statue perhaps relates to a later oil sketch, Outline of a Venus Pudica 1828 (Tate, N05509).2
b.
The sketch in the top right-hand corner represents a statue of a robed priestess carrying a vessel from the Sala del Galata.3 The drawing is annotated with the number ‘13’. The sculpture can also be seen in a near-contemporaneous drawing by James Hakewill (1778–1843), Rome. Antiques of the Capitol. Stanza del Gladiatore moribondo (British School at Rome Library).4
c.
The sketch on the right-hand side of the second row depicts a circular altar dedicated to Hercules.5 Turner has transcribed part of the Latin inscription from the object as ‘HERCVLI VIC’. The altar acts as the base from the sculpture of the Capitoline Antinous, see folio 58 (D15216; Turner Bequest CLXXX 57).
d.
The two sketches at the bottom of the page depict two sides of an altar dedicated to Jupiter Optimus Maximus Sol Sarapis.6 The study on the left represents the left-hand side of the altar bearing a panel of a winged Victory and a seated figure of Roma.7 The study on the right represents the right-hand side with a panel of a sacrificial scene.8 Studies of the front and back can be found on folios 57 and 58 (D15214 and D15216; Turner Bequest 56 and 57).

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Powell 1984, p.420; H. Stuart Jones, A Catalogue of the Ancient Sculptures preserved in the Municipal Collections of Rome. The Sculptures of the Museo Capitolino, Oxford 1912, ‘Gabinetto della Venere’ no.1, p.182, reproduced pl.45. See also the Capitoline Museums online collection records, http://www.museicapitolini.net/urn?urn=urn:collectio:0001:scu:00409, accessed November 2009.
2
See George 1996, pp.27–8; Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.298.
3
Powell 1984, p.420; Jones 1912, ‘Stanza del Gladiatore’ no.6, p.345, reproduced pl.86. See also http://www.museicapitolini.net/urn?urn=urn:collectio:0001:scu:00735.
4
See Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.5M.32, reproduced p.332.
5
Powell 1984, p.420; Jones 1912, ‘Stanza del Gladiatore’ no.6A, p.346, reproduced pl.89. See also http://www.museicapitolini.net/urn?urn=urn:collectio:0001:scu:01962.
6
H. Stuart Jones, A Catalogue of the Ancient Sculptures preserved in the Municipal Collections of Rome. The Sculptures of the Museo Capitolino, Oxford 1912, ‘Stanza del Fauno’ no.1A, p.310. See also http://www.museicapitolini.net/urn?urn=urn:collectio:0001:scu:01958.
7
Jones 1912, reproduced pl.83, no.1A3.
8
Ibid., reproduced pl.83, no.1 A2.

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