The Nightmare


The Nightmare-Henry Fuseli 1782
I am running a high temperature so I am going to indulge my taste for lurid, feverish images. Henry Fuseli was a Swiss-born painter who lived in London in the late 18th century, he was an influence on and friend of the great visionary painter-poet William Blake (see The Marriage of Heaven & Hell).

The Nightmare is his most famous and best painting. Both the subject matter and treatment definitely classes it as one of the more important precursors of Surrealism. A squatting demon sits upon the chest of the sleeping woman and in the wings the night-mare is waiting to take her on her nocturnal ride into terror. The dramatic use of lighting and shadow intensifies the ominous atmosphere


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