Despite entering the art world at a relatively late age; British painter Henry Fuseli left his own mark, whose glow continues to this day.
Fuseli, a British painter of German-Swiss origin, is known in German as Johann Heinrich Fuseli. Born in Switzerland on February 7, 1741, into a family of 18 children, his father painted portraits and landscapes. Read also What is the secret of the number 72 in the paintings of the Turkish calligrapher Ali Alp Arslan? Paintings of the series “Dark” .. Is knowledge the curse of the human race?Palestinian painter confirms with his paintings the impossibility of the extinction of a people and its culture How to draw blind people? The most beautiful paintings painted by blind people
theology to art
Fuseli first studied theology in the church in order to become a priest, then learned traditional classical art at Caroline College in Zurich.
In 1761 Fuseli helped his close friend Johann Lavater in exposing a corrupt judge, so the latter’s family sought revenge on him, which forced him to leave the country.
Fuseli the fugitive traveled around Germany, and after 4 years he visited England and met Joshua Reynolds, one of the most prominent painters of the 18th century, so he took his advice and devoted himself to painting. Under the influence of Rowlandson’s style and graphics, he accomplished some satirical political caricatures that were often sensual rather than lewd.
In 1770 Fuseli traveled to Italy to pursue his studies of art, and after several years he changed his name from “Füssli” to “Fuseli” because the last word was more Italian, and after 9 years he returned to England and published an English edition of Lavater’s work on science. Physiognomy.
Fuseli was drawn to literary and theatrical themes; He excelled in painting a number of famous paintings in the William Shakespeare Gallery by John Boydell (1786-1789), and had a noticeable influence on the style of his younger contemporary, William Blake.
Fuseli married Sophia Rolllino, one of the women he painted, to join the Royal Institute and receive an academic education.
In 1788, Fuseli was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy, becoming a full academic two years later, and spending a number of years as a professor of painting there.
Romanticism in Fuseli’s Works
Romanticism – in its loose terminology – prevailed between the years 1760 and 1870, and included the changes that came as a reaction to neoclassicism, to express the special self-emotions, as it came as an emphasis on personality, subjectivity, irrationality, imagination, spontaneity and even emotionalism, to contradict the well-known classical ideal that perfection must be achieved in art. And she asks for the proposition that emotion is the source of creativity and the source of art.
In the late sixties and seventies, a number of British painters in Rome began to deviate from the boundaries of academic teachings, and exerted a highly selective and mutual influence, and on top of them was Fuseli, who was interested in literary, historical and fictional subjects, and through his drawings was able to convey the linear tensions of the Italian style with bold contrasts of light and shadow despite From not being in Rome.
Fuseli is best known for his tense and emotional portraits. He also had a tendency to invent horrific fantasies, such as those in one of his most important works; The Nightmare (1781), in which 3 more copies of this work were published after being greatly admired and favored at the annual exhibition of the Royal Academy of Art.
Fuseli’s connections with German romantic writers set him to lean toward the “primitive” heroic stories of Homer and Dante and to provide valuable assistance to William Cooper in preparing a translation of Homer, as his rejection of the Renaissance perspective is evidenced by his two-dimensional linear style.
Fuseli was known as the master of shadows and light. This is due to his scarcity of color paintings and his daring to use color techniques and imagery resulting from an act of chance.
Fuseli did not focus on drawing realistic characters; Rather, his works were based on the study of antiquities and Michelangelo’s style. He also made only two paintings of natural scenes, as he was the author of the saying “I have always been cursed by nature.”
Fuseli painted more than 200 paintings, but he did not display only a few of them, while his paintings and designs exceeded 800, but the common factor between them was the exaggeration in drawing parts of the human body.
The transition to writing and death
In 1788, Fuseli began writing articles and technical, literary and political reviews, taking advantage of his mastery of 4 languages, French, Italian, English and German, and was able to write in all these languages smoothly and vividly.
Among his most prominent students are John Constable, Benjamin Haydon, William Etty, Edwin Landseer, and William Blake, and a number of English artists were also influenced by his method.
Fuseli died in 1825 at the home of Countess Guildford in Ponte Hill, and was buried in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral.