Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including Sketches of the Altar of Augustus


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 101 × 161 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 44

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). Cecilia Powell has identified the subject of the sketches on this page as the Altar of Augustus, exhibited in the Cortile Ottagono (also known as the Cortile Ottagonale, formerly the Cortile del Belvedere) in the Museo Pio-Clementino.1 The drawing is annotated ‘297’, which presumably relates to an exhibit number displayed on the work. However, it does 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.417; see Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.II, ‘2. Belvedere’, no.87b, pp.242–7, reproduced pl.15.

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