Study for the Prophet Jeremiah (recto); Studies of a Horse Seen from Below and of a Man Seated on a Chair, Probably a Self-Portrait and an Off-Print in Brown Ink of a Nude Female Abdomen and Legs (verso)
Henry Fuseli (Swiss, Zürich 1741–1825 London)
Pen and brown ink over graphite on paper; verso, pen and brown ink; framing lines in graphite
14 7/8 x 6 5/8 in. (36.7 x 16.9cm)
Anonymous Gift, 2000
Not on view
Fuseli came from a family of artists but trained as a Zwinglian minister before visiting London in the 1760s and deciding to become a painter. His knowledge of the Old Testament and his admiration for Renaissance masters underscore this dramatic sketch of the prophet Jeremiah, made for an engraved illustration in Francis Willoughy’s Practical Family Bible (1772). Bold strokes of brown ink describe the elderly, enraged prophet who steadies himself on a staff as he raises an earthen vessel above his head. The Book of Jeremiah (19:11) describes the prophet’s dramatic denunciation of idol worshippers: "This is what the Lord Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter’s jar is smashed and cannot be repaired." Fuseli, like Blake, belonged to the first generation of Romantic artists in Britain who sought inspiration in poetry and intensely personal emotional and religious experience. About the time he made this drawing, however, Fuseli met Jean Jacques Rousseau and became disillusioned with traditional theology.
Inscription: Inscribed, lower right corner, in graphite: "5" Verso, incribed upper right corner, in graphite: "14"
Herman Shickman Gallery as of 1980
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," August 13, 2001–November 4, 2001.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 12, 2004–April 4, 2004.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 9, 2012–March 25, 2012.
Gert Schiff Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1741-1825. Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstwissenschaft, Oeuvrekataloge Schweizer Künstler, 2 vols., Zurich and Munich, 1973, cat. no. 317: related print in Willoughby's Practical Family Bible: I, p. 429; II, p. 58; this drawing was not known to Schiff, ill.
David H. Weinglass Prints and Engraved Illustrations by and after Henry Fuseli; A Catalogue Raisonné. Aldershot, Hampshire and Brookfield, Vermont, 1994, Related print: "The Breaking of the Potter's Vessel," Jeremiah 19:1-10 (for Willoughby's Bible), 1772, engraved by Antoine Benoist, aquatint by Fuseli, cat. no. 31, p. 28, ill.