Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Kneeling Figures; Two Figures Registering Astonishment or Awe

c.1799–1802

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Ink and graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 210 x 135 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04014
Turner Bequest LXIX 20

Catalogue entry

Several ideas for Biblical subject pictures are mulled over in this book, including scenes from the story of the Plagues of Egypt (Exodus), which resulted in two finished pictures: The Fifth Plague of Egypt, shown at the Royal Academy in 1800 (Indianapolis Museum of Art)1, and The Tenth Plague of Egypt, 1802 (Tate N00470).2 This page offers evidence that Turner also had in mind at the time a subject from 1 Kings 18, in which the prophet Elijah proves to the priests of Baal that the God of the Jews is the only true God, bringing rain after a severe drought. The fainting figure on the next page, folio 21 recto (D04015), may be intended to be a victim of the drought. Other drawings possibly for the Baal subject are on folios 22 recto and 23 recto (D04016, D04017).
1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.10–12 no.13, pl.10 (colour).
2
Ibid., pp.16–17 no.17, pl.13 (colour).
Verso:
Blank

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Read full Catalogue entry

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