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The Spirit of Knowledge

A work made of black chalk and brush and gray wash on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of black chalk and brush and gray wash on ivory laid paper.




Henry Fuseli
Swiss, active in England, 1741-1825

About this artwork

One of the most original and probing artists of the late 18th century, Fuseli worked principally in London but went to Rome for eight years beginning in 1770. The influence of Michelangelo’s prophets and sibyls is tangible in this allegorical figure, probably drawn in London a decade after he left Rome; at this time Fuseli had recently met William Blake, who treated a similar subject in his Book of Job.


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Prints and Drawings


Henry Fuseli


The Spirit of Knowledge


England (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Black chalk and brush and gray wash on ivory laid paper


18.2 × 22.3 cm (7 3/16 × 8 13/16 in.)

Credit Line

Given in honor of Dorothy Braude Edinburg by Lowell Libson and the Directors of Spink-Leger

Reference Number


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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Extended information about this artwork

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