Johann Heinrich Fuseli was born in Zurich in 1741, the son of a Swiss artist Johann Caspar Fussli. He mingled with the German Romantic Circle where he was introduced to classical literature, and it was at this time he acquired his knowledge of the six languages that he spoke fluently. In 1761, he was ordained under pressure from his father but due to his strong beliefs he left the priesthood and Zurich.
Fuseli’s subject drawings give almost the full range of Fuseli’s literary interests – classical mythology, ancient history, the Bible, the Nibelungenlied, Dante, Shakespeare, and Milton. He never invented a situation or an action, which did not fully illustrate the text of the source that it came from. Therefore, in the identification of subjects it is essential to account for every character.
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