Henry Fuseli

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Henry Fuseli

Henry Fuseli, 1778. Portrait by James Northcote.
Henry Fuseli, original name Johann Heinrich Füssli (born Feb. 7, 1741, Zürich, Switz.—died April 16, 1825, Putney Hill, London, Eng.), Swiss-born artist whose paintings are among the most dramatic, original, and sensual works of his time.

Fuseli was reared in an intellectual and artistic milieu and initially studied theology. Obliged to flee Zürich because of political entanglements, he went first to Berlin, and then settled in London in 1764. He was encouraged to become a painter by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and he left England in 1770 to study in Italy, where he stayed until 1778. During his stay in Rome he studied the works of Michelangelo and classical art, which became his major stylistic influences.

Fuseli is famous for his paintings and drawings of nude figures caught in strained and violent poses suggestive of intense emotion. He also had a penchant for inventing macabre fantasies, such as that in The Nightmare (1781). Always drawn to literary and theatrical subjects, Fuseli developed a special interest in illustrating Shakespeare. He was one of the original contributing artists to John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery, for which he painted a number of works (1786–89). He had a noticeable influence on the style of his younger contemporary, William Blake.

In 1788 Fuseli was elected an associate of the Royal Academy, becoming a full academician two years later. During 1799–1805 and again from 1810 he was professor of painting at the Royal Academy. He was appointed keeper of the Academy in 1804.

Encyclopædia Britannica


Die Entkleidung

Ezzelin and Meduna
Oil on canvas, 45,7 x 50,8 cm
Sir John Soane's Museum, London


Theodore Meets in the Wood the Spectre of His Ancestor Guido Cavalcanti

Aphrodite fuhrt Paris zum Duell mit Menelaos

Brunhilde Observing Gunther, Whom She Has Tied to the Ceiling

The Artist Moved by the Grandeur of Antique Fragments
Red chalk on sepia wash, 415 x 355 mm
Kunsthaus, Zürich

Perseus Returning the Eye of the Graii


Der Schiffbruch des Odysseus

Die drei Eidgenossen beim Schwur auf den Rutli

Cerasimus und Huon fliehen vor dem Elfenkonig Oberon

Dame am Frisiertisch

Das Erwachen der Elfenkonigin Titania

Die Elfenkonigin Titania streichelt den eselskopfigen Zettel

Die Elfenkönigin Titania und Zettel, der Weber mit Eselskopf


Die Elfenkönigin Titania und Zettel, der Weber mit Eselskopf

Die Elfenkönigin Titania und Zettel, der Weber mit Eselskopf

Der Feuerkonig

Der Kampf des Thor mit der Schlange des Midgard

Der Nachtmahr verlabt das Lager zweier schlafender Madchen

Der Schlaf und der Tod tragen den Korper des Sarpedon nach Lykien

Die Einsamkeit bei Tagesanbruch

Der Fluchtling

Dante and Virgil on the Ice of Kocythos
Pen and sepia, watercolour, 390 x 274 mm
Kunsthaus, Zürich