Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism ★★★★ The Courtauld | Oct 14, 2022 - Jan 8, 2023

For being intriguing and provocative, Henry Fuseli's life rivals his work. Born in 1741, he was raised to be a protestant clergyman, but he upset his parents' expectations to become an artist. Later as a pillar of the British artistic establishment, he had another side to his character that would have shocked many of his contemporaries. This delightful exhibition that offers a tantalising insight into both the man and his work is divided into three sections: The Medusa of the Hearth, The Other Side of Venus and Dangerous Liaisons. The groupings reveal Fuseli's preoccupation with the female form, his obsession with curious hairstyles and his erotic idiosyncrasies. While these drawings and watercolours may be somewhat transgressive in their subject matter, what is undeniable is the extraordinary quality of Fuseli's draughtsmanship. The stunningly executed pieces demonstrate the self-taught artist's extraordinary skills in all their subtlety and variety. The exhibition, featuring over fifty of Fuseli's works, confirms his artistic importance and offers significant insight into the private life of this libertine and self-proclaimed genius.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: Henry Fuseli, Paidoleteira (1821), Hamburg, Private collection of Thomas and Gianna Le Claire

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