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The Discovery (recto), Two Sketches of Standing Male Figures (verso)

A work made of pen and brown ink and brush and brown wash, over graphite with traces of opaque brown paint (recto), graphite (verso), on cream laid paper, tipped onto ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of pen and brown ink and brush and brown wash, over graphite with traces of opaque brown paint (recto), graphite (verso), on cream laid paper, tipped onto ivory laid paper.

Date:

1767/69

Artist:

Henry Fuseli
Swiss, active in England, 1741-1825

About this artwork

This powerful drawing—a bravura exercise in virtuoso line and tonal washes—illustrates a story from Swiss theologian Ludwig Lavater’s book De Spectris (“On Ghosts”), published in 1569. It describes a priest who, dressed in a sheet, haunts his wealthy niece who is living in his house, in an attempt to rape her and cheat her of her fortune. Terrified, the niece enlists the aid of a friend who exposes the repentant priest.
The curious badminton match visible in the background—not in the story, but added by Fuseli as a critical commentary—is a reference to a proverb composed in Latin by the Dutch poet Jacob Cats (1577–1660): Amor ut pila vices exiget, “Love, like a ball, demands reciprocation.”

Status

On View, Gallery 219

Department

Prints and Drawings

Artist

Henry Fuseli

Title

The Discovery (recto), Two Sketches of Standing Male Figures (verso)

Place

Switzerland (Artist's nationality)

Date

1767–1769

Medium

Pen and brown ink and brush and brown wash, over graphite with traces of opaque brown paint (recto), graphite (verso), on cream laid paper, tipped onto ivory laid paper

Dimensions

529 × 658 mm

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Frank B. Hubachek

Reference Number

1956.33

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/113496/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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