25 de outubro de 2011

Henry Fuseli - Titania Awakes, Surrounded by Attendant Fairies

Titania Awakes, Surrounded by Attendant Fairies - 1794
Kunsthaus - Zurich - Switzerland

“Titania is awakened by Bottom's singing and immediately falls in love with him. She lavishes him with attention, and presumably makes love to him. While she is in this state of devotion, Oberon takes the changeling. Having achieved his goals, Oberon releases Titania, orders Puck to remove the donkey's head from Bottom, and arrange everything so that Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius, and Helena will believe that they have been dreaming when they awaken. (...) The lovers decide that the night's events must have been a dream. After they all exit, Bottom awakes, and he too decides that he must have experienced a dream "past the wit of man. Afterward, Oberon, Titania, Puck, and other fairies enter, and bless the house and its occupants with good fortune”.
Final Act from the Play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" from William Shakespeare

One of the leading figures of the Romantic Movement, Henry Fuseli (German: Johann Heinrich Füssli) ( 1741–1825) created pictures that explored the darker side of the human psyche. This image is in a similar vein to The Nightmare (1781) which bends horror and eroticism, though it also focuses on another of the Romantics’s favorite themes: fairies. Fuseli drew much of his inspiration from literary sources, most notably Shakespeare, John Milton and Dante
Fortunately for him, there was a major revival of interest in the former at the time. In 1789, John Boydell (1719-1804), a future lord mayor of London, decided to promote the cause of British art by opening a purpose-built Shakespeare Gallery, devoted solely to paintings of scenes from the plays. Then, four years later, James Woodmason, inspired by Boydell’s sucess set up a similar gallery in Dublin but the exhibition was a failure. By January 16, 1794, Woodmason reopened his gallery in London, where it remained open until March 1795. Fuseli contributed with paintings to both of these projects – nine to Boydell and five to Woodmason. A Midsummer Night’s Dream provided material for two of Fuseli’s chief interests: fairies and dreams.
This picture, "Titania Awakes, Surrounded by Attendant Fairies" comes from the Woodmason series and the fairies are considerably less sinister than those in the Boydell paintings. While Titania dotes on Nick Bottom, Peaseblossom (fairy) massages his ass’s head. To the right, Cobweb (fairy) has donned a suit of armor and is killing a bee, to steal its honey-sack for the queen’s lover. In the foreground, other fairies dance and sing, among them one with an insect’s head, who was borrowed from a figure in the Commedia dell’Arte. In the top right-hand corner, Puck survey’s the scene, prior to releasing Titania from her enchantment.
Source: Wikipedia, Iain Zaczek, net

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