Commissioned by John Boydell for his Shakespeare Gallery, this painting depicts a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
. The fairy queen Titania has been tricked into falling in love with Bottom, whose head has been turned into that of an ass. She commands her fairies to lavishly wait upon him, and Fuseli depicts the enchanted realm with obvious enthusiasm, drawing on inspiration from several Italian masters including da Vinci and Botticelli.
Titania and Bottom
Date of work
Oil paint on canvas 217.2 x 275.6 cm
Henry Fuseli, born Johann Heinrich Füssli ( 1741 – 1825) was a Swiss painter, draughtsman and art writer who spent much of his life in Britain. Much of his work has a literary or supernatural theme, and he famously painted works for John Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery, before creating his own gallery of works inspired by Milton. He held the posts of Professor of Painting and Keeper at the Royal Academy, and he had a profound influence the work of many of the younger British artists of his time, including John Constable, Benjamin Haydon, William Etty, Edwin Landseer, and William Blake.