So, I went to see the marvellous Etty exhibition in York last week, 'Art and Controversy', and I thought you'd like to see the intellectual highlights, while I talk all serious and the suchlike, 'cos that's what I do.
I never really went mad for Etty, not in the same way as I do for Pre-Raphaelite paintings, or anything later in the nineteenth century. Poised right at the beginning of the Victorian period, William Etty produced a consistently beautiful body of work, which still has the power to impress and astonish. What I tend to think of when I think of Etty is this...
|Candaules, King of Lydia, Shews his Wife by Stealth... (1830)|
This is also the sort of thing I associate with Etty...
|Mlle Rachel (1840)|
Rachel (the stage name of French actress Eliza Felix) was described as a 'dark brown Queen of Tragedy'. With Manga-big Disney eyes, she looks like she is emoting like crazy and she came to the London stage in 1841, a year after this portrait was done. It has a rough, unfinished look, yet captures the beauty of this young woman, who made a living out of looking on the verge of tears. I really don't like this, it's too sketchy and unfinished for my tastes, yet I am completely in love with this...
|Study for The Crochet Worker (Mary Ann Purdon) (1849)|
|Elizabeth Potts (1834)|
|Preparing for a Fancy Dress Ball (1835)|
|Female Nude (1830)|
|The Wrestlers (1840)|
|Male Nude with Arms Up-Stretched (1828-30)|
|The Standard Bearer (1830s)|
|Standing Female Nude (1835)|
|Portrait of an Unknown Lady (1840s)|
'William Etty: Art & Controversy' is on at York Art Gallery until 22 January 2012. Go and see it, you won't regret it.