Henry FuseliTitania and Bottom c.1790

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Artwork details

Henry Fuseli (1741‑1825)
Titania and Bottom
Date c.1790
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 2172 x 2756 mm frame: 3167 x 2600 x 155 mm
Acquisition Presented by Miss Julia Carrick Moore in accordance with the wishes of her sister 1887
On loan to Fondazione Roma Museo (Rome, Italy)


Fuseli was introduced to Shakespeare's plays during his student days in Zürich with the Swiss scholar Jacob Bodmer. A Midsummer Night's Dream held a special appeal for him, in that it explores the realms of the supernatural.

In the picture Fuseli illustrates a moment from Act IV scene 1, in which Oberon, in order to punish her for her pride, casts a spell on Queen Titania, as a result of which she falls in love with Bottom, whose head has been transformed into that of an ass. In the play she murmurs lovingly to the object of her affections,

Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
And stick musk roses in thy sleek smooth head,
And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy… (read more)

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