The wild Swiss

You're forgiven if you think the title is an oxymoron. While Zürich born Johann Heinrich Füssli (1741-1825), a.k.a. Henry Fuseli, was of Swiss origin, he went to London pretty early on, where he became a famous "British" painter.

Yours truly however went to Zürich today to an excellent exhibition of his fascinating works. Other than his contemporaries who did portraits, landscapes & the like, Füssli dealt in literary sources, such as Milton, Shakespeare, the Nibelungenlied & had a weird & fantastic approach to his subject. Again in stark contrast to his contemporaries, he successfully captured the emotion of the moment in his pictures, evidently impressed by the actor Garrick, whose namesake London Club I've had the good fortune to have been invited to several times already. Some of his best known pictures, like The Nightmare, have even spawned an artistic movement of its own that is still known today: gothic horror. The frequent appearance of skull moths kept reminding me of The Silence of the Lambs, a movie that Füssli probably would have liked. And last, but not least, I learned a posh new word for ... uhm ... group fun: symplegma.

Masslos nämlich ist das Erhabene. Füssli must have been a fascinating enlightenment character whose acquaintance I would have loved to have made.

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