Thetis Mourning the Body of Achilles

A work made of brush and brown and brownish-red wash, over graphite, on cream laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of brush and brown and brownish-red wash, over graphite, on cream laid paper.

Date:

1780

Artist:

Henry Fuseli
Swiss, active in England, 1741-1825

About this artwork

Many of the formulae of Fuseli’s idiosyncratic style are present in this powerful drawing: a stage-like setting, extreme contrasts of light and dark, exaggerated gestures, and dramatic foreshortening. All of these are combined in a drama of mythical intensity rendered in boldly applied washes.
The dead Achilles fills the foreground, sprawled upon his shield. His mother, the goddess Thetis, emerges from a rocky outcropping at right, her arms spread in grief. In the distance, the airborne hero’s spirit rides his shield to the afterlife. One of the three Greek inscriptions Fuseli included on the sheet is from Homer’s Odyssey: “And thou in the whirl of dust didst lie mighty in thy mightiness.”

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

Henry Fuseli

Title

Thetis Mourning the Body of Achilles

Origin

England

Date

1780

Medium

Brush and brown and brownish-red wash, over graphite, on cream laid paper

Dimensions

410 × 557 mm

Credit Line

The Leonora Hall Gurley Memorial Collection

Reference Number

1922.2154

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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