Henry Fuseli

Self-Portrait as a Faun. Verso: Head of a Woman Three-Quarters to Left

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Graphite and chalk on paper. Verso: graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 322 x 427 mm
frame: 552 x 435 x 25 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
Reference
T08879

Display caption

Fuseli made this portrait of himself as
a sculpted faun when he was in Italy during the 1770s. By this time Fuseli already had a reputation for studied eccentricity. As a friend in Rome noted:

 

He is everything in extremes - always
an original; His look is lightning, his
word a thunderstorm; his jest is death,
his revenge, hell. He cannot draw a
single mean breath. He never draws portraits, his features are all true,
yet at the same time caricature...

Gallery label, August 2004

Technique and condition

A double-sided drawing on buff-coloured handmade laid paper. On the recto is a black and white drawing with pencil under-drawing, charcoal overdrawing and pastel highlights. On the verso is a pencil drawing. The support has suffered some distortion, mainly creasing through handling. Damage to the surface has been caused by the removal of a previous mount, causing skinning and adhesive staining around the edges of the recto. Surface dirt is apparent on both sides.

On acquisition the work was removed from its mount and the surface dry-cleaned to reduce surface dirt. It was then inlaid and mounted onto white museum board.

Lisa Psarianos
January 1998