William Etty RA was an English artist best known for his history paintings containing nude figures. He was the first significant British painter of nudes and still lifes. Etty earned respect at the Royal Academy of Arts for his ability to paint realistic flesh tones. He died in 1849, shortly after a major retrospective exhibition.
About William Etty in brief
William Etty RA was an English artist best known for his history paintings containing nude figures. He was the first significant British painter of nudes and still lifes. Etty earned respect at the Royal Academy of Arts for his ability to paint realistic flesh tones, but had little commercial or critical success in his first few years in London. In 1828 he was elected a Royal Academician, at the time the highest honour available to an artist. In the 1830s Etty began to branch out into the more lucrative but less respected field of portraiture, and later became the first English painter to paint significant still life paintings. He died in 1849, shortly after a major retrospective exhibition. His work later fell out of fashion, and imitators soon abandoned his style. By the end of the 19th century the value of all of his works had fallen below their original prices, and outside his native York he remained little known throughout the 20th century. His inclusion in Tate Britain’s landmark Exposed: The Victorian Nude exhibition in 2001–02, the high-profile restoration of his The Sirens and Ulysses in 2010 led to renewed interest in his work. He never married and never formally converted from his Methodist faith, but he was deeply attached to the Roman Catholic Church and was one of the few non-Catholics to attend the 1838 opening of Augustus Pugin’s chapel for St Mary’s College, Oscott, at that time England’s most important Roman Catholic building.
He lived with his niece Betsy from 1824 until his death. Even in London he retained a keen interest in York, and was instrumental in the establishment of the town’s first art school and the campaign to preserve York city walls. His works became highly collectable and sold for large sums, and in the immediate aftermath of his death his works became very popular with art collectors. His paintings were included in the Tate Britain’s landmark Exp exposed: the Victorian Nudes exhibition in 2011–12. He is buried in York in a family grave, next to his niece, Betsy. He also left a collection of his paintings to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is now the home of the British National Gallery of Modern Art, in the grounds of the Museum of Modern Arts, in central London. For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or see www.samaritans.org for details. In. the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255 or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. For. confidential support in the United States call the national suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-844-788. For information on how to get in touch with Samaritans, visit http://www. Samaritans. org/. For confidential. support in Britain, call the. National Suicide prevention Lifeline on 0800 555 111.
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