Henry Fuseli

Bust Portrait of Mrs Fuseli

Bust Portrait of Mrs Fuseli by Henry Fuseli

Artwork Detail

Fuseli had a passion for wildly exaggerating his wife Sophia’s complicated wigs, comparing her head and hairstyles to ‘the head of fair-faced Medusa’. According to some legends, Medusa was a beautiful woman who had her hair transformed into snakes by Athena. Because anyone who looked on her face was turned to stone, Medusa became a popular decoration on warriors’ shields.

Bust Portrait of Mrs Fuseli
Henry Fuseli
Production date
circa 1795
pen with black and blue wash, heightened with white (brush and wash worked up with gouache)
174 x 144 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1965
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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