A sign that the practice painting is over.
But first: GOSSIP! William Etty’s work that was sent for exhibition at the Royal Academy and British Institution generated the greatest praise and protest from his contemporaries. “Memorials” (his own term) to painters such as Titian, Rubens, Poussin, Reynolds and Lawrence evoked both accolades for color and condemnation for the indecency of his nudes. as recently as 2011, the York Art Gallery hosted “William Etty: Art and Controversy” – still raising eyebrows after all these years.
Back to my story. A few weeks ago on February 23 (Judith in triplicate), I talked about a triptych painted by William Etty. Like many of the latter works of art I have displayed, it was difficult to uncover the background on that particular piece. And today – voila! – a book appears by W. Cosmo Monkhouse entitled Pictures by William Etty: With Descriptions and a Biographical Sketch of the Painter (1874). On pages 43 to 45, the author describes how Etty planned a heroic narrative to follow “The Combat – Woman Pleading for the Vanquished” and chose Judith as his theme. In the center panel is Judith on the verge of decapitating an unconscious Holofernes, to the right is the maid among the slumbering soldiers, to the left is Judith leaving the tent with her bloody prize – the three Judith’s mentioned in descriptions of Etty’s long term endeavor and one his finest accomplishments. So now I can stop looking.
But the new search also brought up another works by Etty that is a study in preparation for the triptych. So where were they hiding out?
Apparently the basement of the York trust.