Henry Fuseli

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The Nightmare 1781

The Nightmare 1781

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Henry Fuseli: The maestro of melodramatic exposition

Henry Fuseli was born in Zurich on February 7th, 1741, to Johann Casper, a Swiss painter, and Anna Elisabeth. Casper was an excellent artist, and he passed his artistic genets to his son. The father and son shared enthusiasm for unwavering commitment and classical antiquity for Neoclassical painting. The artist pursued a wide range of studies, and developed a likeliness for classical philology, and spent his time to become proficient in French, English, and Italian.

Henry dedicated his whole life to art.

In 1770, Henry traveled to Italy to become a painter. He took a massive interest in classical sculpture, mannerist art, and Michelangelo.  Returning to London in 1780, Henry devoted most of his time to painting Shakespearean themes till 1789. In 1788, Fuseli was elected as the associate of the Royal Academy of Arts and a professor of painting in 1799. The artist's attitude towards women played a  crucial role in his artworks.

The artist has a passionate love for Anna Landolt, whom he met in 1778. But her father refused the proposal, and Henry ended up marrying Sophia Rawlins in 1788. After living a successful life, Fuseli died on April 16th, 1825, and was buried in Saint Paul's Cathedral.

Some greatest artworks by Henry Fuseli

  • The Nightmare- arguably, it is the most famous painting by the artist. It shows a dark bedroom scene where a woman lies unconscious, and a goblin sits on the top of her body.
  • Titania and Bottom- this painting is a scene from Shakespeare's A Midsummer night's dream.
  • Christ Disappearing at Emmaus- this painting shows the Christ is rising to the heavens.
  • The Shepherd's dream- this painting depicts the scene of Milton's poem that tells about fallen angels.
  • The Night-Hag visiting Lapland witches- this painting depicts Milton's Paradise Lost.