John Henry Fuseli, a painter and writer on art, born in Zurich, Switzerland, Feb. 7, 1741, died near London, April 16, 1825. His father was John Casper Fussli, also a painter. He received a good classical education in his native town, and in 1701 took orders. A pamphlet written by himself and Lavater, who was his schoolfellow, in which a public functionary was severely handled, was the cause of his leaving Zurich, and after spending some time in Vienna and Berlin he went to England, where for a time he supported himself by literary labors. Sir Joshua Reynolds, to whom he showed some of his drawings, advised him to devote himself to art, and he accordingly spent eight years in Italy among the works of the old masters. Here he changed his name to its Italian form, Fuseli, which he ever after retained. Returning to England in 1778, he executed a number of pictures for Boydell's " Shakespeare Gallery." In 1790 he was elected an academician, and in 1799 he exhibited a series of 47 designs on a large scale from Milton's works. In the same year he became professor of painting in the academy.
Among his literary labors was a translation of Lavater's "Aphorisms on Man." His "Lectures on Painting" was published in 1831, and translated into German by Eschenburg (1833). As a painter he possessed high imaginative powers, but his drawing was imperfect and unnatural. See his "Life and Writings," edited by John Knowles (3 vols., London, 1831).