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Sketch for "Oath on the Rütli," Female Figure (verso)

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

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.


1779/81; 1785/90 (verso)


Henry Fuseli
Swiss, active in England, 1741-1825

About this artwork

Although Henry Fuseli spent most of his career in England, he was born Johann Heinrich Füssli in Zurich, a city that fostered early Romantic ideas. His first important commission was for the large painting The Oath on the Rütli in the city hall of Zurich. This sketch is a preliminary study for that work. It depicts the oath sworn on the Rütli meadow in 1291 by representatives of three Swiss cantons (territories) against the ambitions of their Habsburg overlords. Fuseli’s dynamic, elongated figures, which were strongly influenced by Mannerist art, are less an accurate representation of the historical past than they are an expression of the universal desire for freedom.

On View

Painting and Sculpture of Europe, Gallery 219


Henry Fuseli


Sketch for "Oath on the Rütli," Female Figure (verso)


United Kingdom




Oil on canvas


stretcher: 29 15/16 × 26 9/16 in. (76 × 67.5 cm); irregular edges of the original canvas: 28 5/8 × 22 3/4 in. (72.7 × 57.8 cm); edges of the Oath on the Rütli image: 25 5/8 × 21 3/8 in. (65.1 × 54.3 cm)

Credit Line

Anonymous gift

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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