Ugolino and His Sons Starving to Death in the Tower

A work made of pen and black ink and brush and black, gray, and red wash, over traces of graphite, on grayish-ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of pen and black ink and brush and black, gray, and red wash, over traces of graphite, on grayish-ivory laid paper.

Date:

1806

Artist:

Henry Fuseli
Swiss, active in England, 1741-1825

About this artwork

Count Ugolino della Gherardesca was a medieval Italian nobleman of Pisa accused of treason and locked in a tower with his sons and grandsons to starve to death. He was made famous as one of the damned souls in Dante’s poem the Inferno. Dante leaves unclear the ghoulish question of whether or not Ugolino ate his offspring’s corpses, which would have appealed to Fuseli’s dark imagination.
In a drawing of exquisite refinement and sensitivity, Fuseli uses his media (pen, wash, and graphite) to great effect, capturing the despair bordering on madness expressed by Ugolino’s stoic figure and demeanor.

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

Henry Fuseli

Title

Ugolino and His Sons Starving to Death in the Tower

Origin

England

Date

1806

Medium

Pen and black ink and brush and black, gray, and red wash, over traces of graphite, on grayish-ivory laid paper

Dimensions

639 × 522 mm

Credit Line

The Leonora Hall Gurley Memorial Collection

Reference Number

1922.5682

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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