Frank Davis Memorial Lecture series: Fuseli and the Graphic Body

‘Female Trouble’: Vamps, Vixens and Viragoes in the Art of Henry Fuseli

Speaker: Dr Kevin Salatino, Chair and Anne Vogt Fuller and Marion Titus Searle Curator of Prints and Drawings, The Art Institute of Chicago

From his party years in Rome, to his marriage to the much younger Sophia Rawlins, to his dalliance with Mary Wollstonecraft (who wanted to be the “trois” in his “ménage”), Henry Fuseli had a love/hate relationship with women. Throughout his long career, he depicted — in his paintings and, more graphically, in his drawings — dominatrixes and femmes fatales, demireps and fashion plates, simultaneously objectifying and empowering them. Closely looking at what might be called his “private” or “secret” drawings, the vast number of which were of his wife, this lecture teases out the ways in which Fuseli both succumbed to and defied fashion in a multi-decade exploration of the female form at its most fetishized and eroticized. 

Kevin Salatino is the Anne Vogt Fuller and Marion Titus Searle Chair and Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was formerly Director of the Art Collections at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (San Marino, California), Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (Brunswick, Maine), Curator and Head of the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Curator of Graphic Arts at the Getty Research Institute. He has published on topics as diverse as the history of fireworks (Incendiary Art: The Representation of Fireworks in Early Modern Europe, 1999), sex on the Grand Tour, 19th-century American sculptors in Rome, and Edward Hopper (Edward Hopper’s Maine, 2011), as well as on artists as varied as Fra Angelico, James Ensor, Victor Hugo, and Ellsworth Kelly. Among the many exhibitions he has curated is Shockingly Mad: Henry Fuseli and the Art of Drawing (Art Institute of Chicago, 2018). He is currently writing a book about Fuseli’s erotic drawings.

Organised by Dr Ketty Gottardo (The Courtauld) and Professor David Solkin (The Courtauld) as part of the Frank Davis Memorial Lecture series ‘Fuseli and the Graphic Body‘. 

This event has passed.

6:00pm, 13 Oct 2022

Thursday 13th October 2022, 6pm - 7.30pm BST

Free, booking essential

Vernon Square campus, Lecture Theatre 1

This is an in person event. Registration will close 30 minutes before the event begins.


Drawing depicting three women with elaborate hair styles.
Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, c. 1778–79. Graphite and black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, 165 × 167 mm. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1965