The Nightmare, 1781 (oil on canvas), Fuseli, Henry (Fussli, Johann Heinrich) (1741-1825) / Detroit Institute of Arts, USA / Founders Society purchase with Mr and Mrs Bert L. Smokler / and Mr and Mrs Lawrence A. Fleischman funds / The Bridgeman Art Library
When Henry Fuseli (1747 – 1825) envisioned horrifying and grotesque subjects, he saw only beauty. A leading Romantic artist who originally trained to be a priest, Fuseli adored Michelangelo, whose style he imitated throughout his career. Scenes from Shakespeare and Milton dominated Fuseli’s works, depicted in his intense, imaginative style. He is best known for “The Nightmare,” a sinister, erotic piece that cemented his popularity and has been extensively reproduced. An artist whose concepts were ahead of his time, Fuseli powerfully influenced the Expressionists and Surrealists.