Apollo Magazine

Füssli, the Realm of Dreams and the Fantastic

The Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris shines a light into the murky mind of this 18th-century master of the macabre

Queen Catherine's Dream Henry Fuseli

Queen Catherine's Dream (detail; 1781), Henry Fuseli. Lytham St Annes Art Collection of Fylde Council. © Heritage Images / Fine Art Images/akg-images

Inspired by the fantastical and the sublime, the oeuvre of Henry Fuseli (or Johann Heinrich Füssli) takes in everything from biblical illustrations to scenes straight out of nightmares. More than 60 works on display at the Musée Jacquemart André in Paris (16 September–23 January 2023), spanning the artist’s career, reveal how Fuseli’s dreamlike vision took shape during his time in England where the Swiss-born artist was taken under the wing of Joshua Reynolds, president of the Royal Academy. The exhibition looks closely at the artist’s various literary influences, including a section dedicated to the artist’s representations of Shakespearian scenes such as the Three Witches (after 1783), Lady Macbeth Seizing the Daggers (1812) and, looking beyond the tragedies, his eery portrait of Beatrice, Hero and Ursula (1789), which depicts the women protagonists of Much Ado About Nothing in a characteristically macabre light.Perhaps the artist’s best-known work is The Nightmare (1781), which established his name in London; a later version is displayed here alongside other works that demonstrate Fuseli’s obsession with dreams and apparitions. Find out more from the Musée Jacquemart André’s website.

Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary here

The Nightmare (after 1782), Henry Fuseli. Photo: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar, Poughkeepsie, New York/Art Resource, NY

Sleepwalking Lady Macbeth (c. 1784),Henry Fuseli. Musée du Louvre, Paris. Photo: © RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre)/Hervé Lewandowski

Beatrice, Hero and Ursula (1789), Henry Fuseli. Photo: Elke Estel/Hans-Peter Klut; © Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 

The Three Sisters (after 1783), Henry Fuseli. Photo: Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre Collection

Queen Catherine’s Dream (1781), Henry Fuseli. Lytham St Annes Art Collection of Fylde Council. Photo: © Heritage Images/Fine Art Images/akg-images

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