FKIN (A)rt Friday

Meet the Daring, 18th Century Fantasist, Henry Fuseli

Henry Fuseli by James Northcote 1778

Above: Henry Fuseli, 1778. Portrait by James Northcote.

All artwork depicted is "Public Domain."

Henry Fuseli, born Johann Heinrich Füssli (February 7, 1741 – April 17, 1825), was a Swiss painter, draftsman and writer on art who spent much of his life in Britain. 

Henry Fuseli The Nightmare 1781

Many of his works deal with supernatural subject-matter, most famously, “The Nightmare” (above), an aptly titled painting that is once sensual and terrifying. During his career he produced over 200 paintings and nearly 800 drawings, many of which were never exhibited.

Henry Fuseli, Erotic Scene with Three Women and One Man 1809-1810

Above: Henry Fuseli, Erotic Scene with Three Women and One Man 1809-1810

Between 1770 and 1778 Fuseli created a number of erotic drawings which he called "Symplegma," often of various ménage à trois in the throes of enthusiastic sex games. Shockingly direct and unambiguous, his dirty works were the "X" to more coy R-rated erotic art common in the late Rococo period (late 17th – early 18th century), as seen in works by William Hogarth and Jean-Frédéric Schall.

Porn, basically. In fact, some felt that his depictions of frisky subjects at play were so explicit as to lessen the erotic appeal. 

Henry Fuseli, A Cuffed Naked Man, 1770-1772

Above: Henry Fuseli, A Cuffed Naked Man, 1770-1772

However, his attention to detail is fascinating from a historical and fashion perspective. Check out the hair, clothes in even in the rompiest drawings, as well as a few extra here just so you can see. For example, his illustrations of his wife, below. with whom he clearly had a healthy sex life.

Henry Fuseli Callipyga Mrs. Fuseli 1770-1772

Above:  Henry Fuseli, Callipyga: Mrs. Fuseli with her skirts lifted to her waist standing before a dressing table with phallic supports, 1790-1799.

Mrs. Fuseli Reading 1791

Above: Henry Fuseli, Mrs. Fuseli Reading, 1790-1799. 

Henry Fuseli, 1805 Courtesan with an elaborate hairdress, 1800-10

Above: Henry Fuseli, 1805 Courtesan with an elaborate hairdress, 1800-10

Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, 1779

Above: Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, 1779

Henry Fuseli, Now back to the frisky stuff ...

Henry Fuseli, Erotic Scene of a Man a Woman and a Servant 1770

Above: Henry Fuseli, Erotic Scene of a Man a Woman and a Servant, 1770

Henry Fuseli, Erotic Burlesque, 1770-72

Above: Henry Fuseli, Erotic Burlesque, 1770-72

Henry Fuseli. Erotic Scene of a Man with Two Women, 1770-78

Above: Henry Fuseli. Erotic Scene of a Man with Two Women, 1770-78

In any case, what’s clear is that Fuseli blows the cobwebs off any mistaken “Masterpiece Theater” perceptions we may have of the behavior or at least fantasy lives of our dear old dusty ancestors. 

For more about Henry Fuseli, visit his page on Wikipedia or just Google the man.

Henry Fuseli, Drawing, undated

Above: Henry Fuseli, Drawing, undated

Attributed to Henry Fuseli, but actually by Theodor Matthias von Holst A Man and Two Women on a Bed, date unknown.

Above: Attributed to Henry Fuseli, but actually by Theodor Matthias von Holst A Man and Two Women on a Bed, date unknown.

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Please check previous Perfect Fit Brand "Erotic Intent" blog pages for more "FKIN (A)rt Friday" posts, including contemporary erotic artists and photographers as well as arotic art from millenia ago.