Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Paintings in the Dresden Picture Gallery: Correggio, ‘Madonna with St Sebastian’; Watteau, ‘Conversation in the Open Air’


Not on display
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 162 x 89 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCVII 6 a

Display caption

Turner used this sketchbook for about ten days to record Copenhagen, Germany's Baltic coast, Stettin on the river Oder, Berlin and finally Dresden, which he reached on 19 September. In the nineteenth century the Dresden Gallery was regarded as the most outstanding collection of Old Master paintings north of the Alps. Three of Turner's tiny copies on these pages record the composition, colour and light effects of altarpieces by Correggio, each showing the Madonna and Child with saints; the fourth shows a scene by Watteau. The paintings recorded on other pages include two landscapes by the artist Turner most revered, Claude Lorrain, and the jewel of the gallery, Raphael's 'Sistine Madonna'.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Rendered inversely to one another, these are rough copies of two paintings Turner saw at the Dresden Picture Gallery (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister). They are Antonio da Correggio (1489–1534) Madonna with St Sebastian (1524) and Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684–1721) Conversation in the Open Air (1718/19). Colour notes are inscribed around the paintings to remind the artist of their brilliant chromatic displays: ‘Or’ (‘gold’ in French), ‘W[hite] V[ine], ‘Lilack’, ‘B[lue] Y[ellow] Stripes’, ‘P[ink]’, ‘Yel[low] Glory’, L[ight] B[lue]’.
See also Tate D31030, D31032–D31033; Turner Bequest CCCVII 6, 7–7a.

Alice Rylance-Watson
May 2015

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