Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including a Statue of a Danae and a Statue Group of a Nymph and Satyr


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 161 × 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 45

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 objects found in the Museo Pio-Clementino. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
Cecilia Powell has identified the subject of two sketches in the top left-hand corner as a statue of a seated woman.1 The statue, which is now believed to represent Danae, can be found in the Galleria delle Statue (Gallery of Statues, formerly also known as the Gallery of Cleopatra).2 Turner has annotated the drawing with the number ‘79 XXI’.
The sketch in the top right-hand corner depicts a fragment of a relief with a seated nymph from the Galleria delle Statue.3 The drawing is annotated with the number ‘696 XXII’.
Powell has identified the three sketches at the bottom of the page as depicting variant views of a statue of a nymph and satyr.4 The drawings are annotated with the number ‘673’.
Turner’s annotations presumably relate to exhibit numbers displayed on the individual works. However, they do not appear to correspond to any known lists published within contemporary guide books or catalogues of the Vatican collections.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

Powell 1984, p.418; see Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.II, ‘4. Galleria delle Statue’, no.393, pp.584–8, reproduced pl.57.
Giandomenico Spinola, Il Museo Pio-Clementino, vol.II, Vatican City 1999, no.GS 44, p.38, reproduced fig.6.
See Amelung 1908, vol.II, ‘4. Galleria delle Statue II.’, no.394a, pp.591–2, reproduced pl.52 and Spinola 1999, vo.II, no.GS 43, p.37, reproduced fig.6.
Powell 1984, p.418; see Salomon Reinach, Répertoire de la Statuaire Grecque et Romaine, vol. I, Paris 1897, p.412, no.1739, reproduced pl.725.

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