The nightmare by Fuseli was first on exhibition in 1782 at the Royal Academy of London and it continues to fascinate as much –if not more- to this day.
It is a magnificent oil on canvas painting .
The nightmare depicts a woman in the process of having a nightmare. She is on her back [in what some have described as a sexual position at the time the painting was first introduced] and is being tormented by an incubus that is sitting on her chest. In the background one also notices the head of a horse – another symbol for nightmares in that era. Perhaps what the viewed is captured by the most is the fact that the incubus is staring outward from the frame and the eyes of the horse are over dramatized.
Because of high interest in the painting Henry Fuseli is known to have made at least 3 versions and at that time there was even an engraving that circulated.
It is attributed to Thomas Burke and was created in 1783
A version of the painting was slightly adjusted as a satire for political reasons.
† Vampire Art