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.
- 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)
- Anonymous gift