FUSELI, John Henry
(b. 1741, Zurich, d. 1825, London)

Symplegma of a Man with Three Women

Pencil, tinted in grey and pink, 190 x 248 mm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Between 1770 and 1778 Fuseli created a number of erotic drawings which he called "Symplegma." They are very different from the erotic depictions that were usual in the late Rococo period, and in which the lascivious element is modestly concealed in a pleasurable, anecdotal bedchamber manner, Fuseli is uncompromisingly direct. In these drawings the erotic element often comes close to suffering.