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Prints and Drawings
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext2 of 2
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: Henry Fuseli, Swiss, active in England, 1741–1825

Male nude and seated hermit (recto); Male nude (verso)

ca. 1790–1800

Pen and brown ink

sheet: 31.8 × 19.5 cm (12 1/2 × 7 11/16 in.)
Gift of John S. Thacher, B.A. 1927
1952.12.4a-b
The son of the painter Johann Caspar Füssli, Henry Fuseli first studied theology and literature and only later decided to become an artist. He developed a dramatic, individual style with a focus on human psychology, an early manifestation of the Romanticism that would prevail in the early nineteenth century. His works consist mainly of history paintings with subjects of his own invention (including his famous Nightmare) or from Shakespeare, Milton, and Dante. The nude in this drawing is adapted from Michelangelo’s Battle of Cascina, and the inscription is a line from the Ugolino story in Dante’s Inferno that describes the hills, “because of which the Pisans cannot see Lucca.” The line must have come to Fuseli’s mind because the hills that Dante describes rise above the plain of Cascina, where the battle that Michelangelo depicted took place. The seated hermit seems unrelated to either the nude or the Ugolino story.
Geography: 
Made in Switzerland
Status: 
By appointment
Culture: 
Swiss
Period: 
18th century
Classification: 
Works on Paper - Drawings and Watercolors
Provenance: 

John S. Thacher, Washington, D.C.

Bibliography: 

Suzanne Boorsch and John J. Marciari, Master Drawings from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006), 215–17, no. 73, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.