J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Details of the Decorations of Raphael's Loggia in the Vatican: The Frescoes of 'Raphael's Bible' from the Second Vault of the Ceiling 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 16 Recto:
Details of the Decorations of Raphael’s Loggia in the Vatican: The Frescoes of ‘Raphael’s Bible’ from the Second Vault of the Ceiling 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXIX 16
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 186 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil with various notes on the loggia decorations [see main catalogue entry]
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in blue ink ‘16’ top right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXIX 16’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The sketch on this page represents the decorative fresco scheme in the second ceiling vault of the Loggia of Raphael in the Vatican. This is comprised of a central panel featuring a winged victory or angel carrying the emblematic Medici ring, and four scenes from ‘Raphael’s Bible’. The latter include, anti-clockwise from the bottom:
The Creation of Eve by Tommaso Vincidor (1493–1536).1 Turner has inscribed the sketch ‘V Light’ and ‘Gn’, and additionally has noted ‘Lake Robe | is V Light in the Mass | as Light as W Beard | Eve beautiful Col | Adam B’[?Sani]’.
The Fall (or Original Sin) by Vincidor and Pellegrino da Modena (1460–1523).2 Inscribed beneath ‘Cold [?Round] Flesh [?c...] [?t...] [...] Gr’.
The Expulsion from the Garden (or The Expulsion from Paradise) by Vincidor.3 Inscribed with colour notes ‘V L Y’ (i.e. Very Light Yellow) and ‘Yellow | Bl’.
The Labours of Adam and Eve by ?Vincidor.4 Inscribed ‘Lake’ and ‘Gr’ within the scene and ‘Gold’ in the top left-hand corner. To the left, Turner has further noted, with reference to the corner of the vault, ‘Blue Ground White Bor[der] | Lilac Spandrel | Yellow Balls | B and D Red’.
The grotesque decorations from one of the corners, which is symmetrically repeated in the other four. The component parts are variously annotated with colour notes ‘Green Red | and White Balls | and Cho G’, ‘Gold on Blue’, ‘Cho Gr [?Gr | 15]’ and ‘B and W’.
A rough diagrammatic plan of the same vault can be seen on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 15 verso (D14958). The Creation of Eve and the decoration within the corner spandrels are clearly visible in Turner’s painted recreation of the loggia within the right-hand side of the composition of Rome from the Vatican. The artist has additionally imagined the ‘Expulsion from the Garden’ as a separate canvas which is displayed in the foreground of the picture at the far left of the assemblage of objets d’art associated with Raphael.5 Further studies related to the evolution of Rome from the Vatican can be found on folios 13 verso–15 verso, 17–21 verso and 25–26 (D14955–D14958, D14960–D14966 and D14970–D14972), as well as an elaborate compositional drawing in pen and ink in the Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16368; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 41). For a full description of the loggia and Turner’s sketches see folio 14 (D14956).
This page was selected by Ralph Nicholson Wornum for the Second Loan Collection, a group of sixty-two works exhibited in the provinces during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.6 It was removed from the sketchbook and displayed within a mount. Consequently, like the other works included in those tours, the drawing has suffered badly from over-exposure to light and the paper has yellowed considerably.
Nicole Dacos, Le Logge di Rafaello: Maestro e bottega di fronte all’antico, Rome 1977, no.II.1, reproduced Tav.XII and Nicole Dacos, The Loggia of Raphael: A Vatican Art Treasure, New York and London 2008, pl.103, pl.142.
Dacos 1977, no.II.2, reproduced Tav.XIII and Dacos 2008, pl.104, p.143.
Dacos 1977, no.II.3, reproduced Tav.XIV and Dacos 2008, pl.105, p.144.
Dacos 1977, no.II.4, reproduced Tav.XV and Dacos 2008, pl.106, p.146.
See Mordechai Omer, ‘Turner and “The Building of the Ark” from Raphael’s Third Vault of the Loggia’, Burlington Magazine, vol.117, November 1975, p.694 note 5.
Warrell 1991, pp.36–8.

Nicola Moorby
January 2010

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Details of the Decorations of Raphael’s Loggia in the Vatican: The Frescoes of ‘Raphael’s Bible’ from the Second Vault of the Ceiling 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2010, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-details-of-the-decorations-of-raphaels-loggia-in-the-vatican-r1137591, accessed 25 June 2024.