Jun 13, 2012
Jun 13, 2012

Satan Starts from the Touch of Ithuriel's Spear

Satan Starts from the Touch of Ithuriel's Spear


Henry Fuseli

(Swiss, 1741–1825)

Pen and brown ink and brush and gray wash

Support: Cream(2) laid paper, laid down on cream(2) modern? laid paper

Sheet: 30.9 x 42.5 cm (12 3/16 x 16 3/4 in.); Secondary Support: 31 x 42.7 cm (12 3/16 x 16 13/16 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 1954.365

Catalogue raisonné: Schiff 483a


Did you know?

This drawing is one of three almost identical drawings depicting the same scene from Paradise Lost; the other sheets are in the collections of the National Gallery, Stockholm, and the British Museum, London.


Henry Fuseli's lifelong interest in the work of the English poet John Milton (1608-1674) inspired many drawings that interpreted passages from Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost (1667). This early example illustrates the moment when the angels Ithuriel and Zephon discover Satan disguised as a toad in the bower where Adam and Eve are sleeping. Ithuriel forces Satan to reveal himself by prodding him with a spear. The lion in the background alludes to an earlier passage in the poem, when Satan takes on the shape of the beast in order to spy on the couple.

See also
DR - British
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Dudley P. Allen Fund

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