Head of a Damned Soul from Dante's "Inferno," (verso)

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.

Date:

1770/78

Artist:

Henry Fuseli
Swiss, active in England, 1741-1825

About this artwork

Born into a family of artists in Zurich, Henry Fuseli lived in Italy from 1770 to 1778. He probably painted this head, as well as the one executed with equally loose brushwork on the reverse of the canvas, as a study for his own use. Both images were also engraved as illustrations for Johann Caspar Lavater’s influential book on physiognomy (the science of facial structure). According to the text, the heads were inspired by damned souls in Dante Alighieri’s epic poem Inferno. Throughout his career, Fuseli favored heroic subjects taken from the work of Dante, John Milton, and William Shakespeare, and he drew formal inspiration from Michelangelo, whom he equated with his literary heroes.

On View

European Painting and Sculpture, Gallery 219

Artist

Henry Fuseli

Title

Head of a Damned Soul from Dante's "Inferno," (verso)

Origin

England

Date

1770–1778

Medium

Oil on canvas

Inscriptions

Heinrich Fuessly / 1741-1825 (verso, lower left)

Dimensions

edges irregular, appro×. 40.6 × 29.8 cm (16 × 11 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

The Leonora Hall Gurley Memorial Collection

Reference Number

1992.1531

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 .

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