Anonymous sale, Christie's London, 18 November 1980, lot 7
Fuseli?s withdrawn and brooding male figures are an interesting example of the Romantic side of his art and constitute a recurrent motif in works from his period in Rome. It appears that the present sheet is from an album of drawings, the majority made by J. Northcote in Italy in 1777, when Northcote and Fuseli were great friends (see G. Schiff: Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1973, Vol 1, p. 84, vol. 11 p. 602).
Influenced by the vogue for Goethe?s Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), Fuseli?s brooding figures are depicted as solitary seated individuals caught up in a state of introspection that Jorgen Andersen has described as ?sunk in a Storm or Stress mood? (Jorgen Andersen, De Arildgaard Sergel Fuseli, 1989, no. 266). This brooding may range in form from detached observation through deep meditation but the figures often hide their head in their arms on their desk or cover their face with their splayed hand or, as in this drawing, look warily around them, which may convey their fearfulness and confusion (Gert Schiff, lit. op. cit, 1973, nos. 560-562). We thank Professor David Weinglass for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.