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Milton Dictating to His Daughter

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

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Henry Fuseli
Swiss, active in England, 1741-1825

About this artwork

This painting by Swiss artist Henry Fuseli depicts 17th-century English poet John Milton, who became blind in his 40s, dictating his epic poem Paradise Lost. His daughter transcribes his words while another woman listens intently as she sews. A forerunner of the Romantic Movement, Fuseli created drama through chromatic contrast. A cool light illuminates the rosy-cheeked women and casts deep shadows around Milton’s ghostly figure and face. Fuseli created this painting for his Milton Gallery, a self-run enterprise that showcased the artist’s Milton-inspired works. While this entrepreneurial venture failed commercially, it raised Fuseli’s prestige and visibility as an artist.


On View, Gallery 219


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Henry Fuseli


Milton Dictating to His Daughter


Switzerland (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.



Oil on canvas


121.2 × 118.7 cm (47 3/4 × 46 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Preston O. Morton Memorial Purchase Fund for Older Paintings

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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