Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including a Sarcophagus with a Marriage Scene

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 101 x 161 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15188
Turner Bequest CLXXX 43

Catalogue entry

During his 1819 stay in Rome, one of Turner’s most extensive sketching campaigns was the large number of pencil studies made from the sculpture collections of the Vatican Museums (for a general discussion, see the introduction to the sketchbook). This page contains sketches of a sarcophagus found in the Museo Pio-Clementino. The studies are numbered from top to bottom:
a.
Cecilia Powell has identified the subject of the top sketch as a sarcophagus decorated with a relief depicting scenes of marriage and sacrifice.1 The object can be found in the West Portico of the Cortile Ottagono (also known as the Cortile Ottagonale, formerly the Cortile del Belvedere) of the Museo Pio-Clementino.2
b.
The sketch in the bottom left-hand corner depicts the relief from the right end of the same sarcophagus (see a.).3
c.
The sketch second from bottom left depicts the relief from the left end of the same sarcophagus (see a.).4

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Powell 1984, p.417; see Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.II, ‘2. Belvedere’, no.102n, pp.290–4, reproduced pl.27.
2
Giandomenico Spinola, Il Museo Pio-Clementino, vol.I, Vatican City 1996, no.PO 18, pp.80–1.
3
See Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Bildkatalog der Skulpturen des Vatikanischen Museum: Museo Pio Clementino Cortile Ottagono, Berlin and New York 1998, vol.II, reproduced pl.263, bottom.
4
Ibid., reproduced pl.263, top.

Read full Catalogue entry

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