Art: Painter Possessed

To have influenced a great artist may not make a painter great, but it does help make him interesting; and probably no one had more impact on William Blake than John Henry Fuseli. To look at Blake's nudes and then at Fu-seli's, with their rhetorical gestures and armor-plate muscles, is to sense this. Then reckon in Fuseli's eccentricities, which though irreligious were akin to Blake's own, and it seems clear why the younger painter spared Fuseli the contempt he felt for nearly every other English artist of his day. Fuseli was not "normal." His...

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