The Deluge (1835-1845)
William Etty (1787/1849) - The first major British painter to specialise in the nude before the 20th century
Location: V&A Museum, London
”…Etty’s art divided public opinion during the first half of the nineteenth century more than that of any other British artist, with the possible exception of Turner.
During his 40-year career he produced a wide variety of landscapes and portraits, but is most famous for his repeated use of the female nude.
Many believed that the splendour of his richly coloured canvases was designed to disguise his underlying preoccupation with titillating forms of bodily display.
Etty was repeatedly encouraged to ‘turn from his wicked ways’ and make his art ‘fit for decent company’.
At the same time, one critic declared Etty to be ‘the greatest of all our history painters’. Another said the brilliancy of his colours were almost ‘too much for human eyes to dwell upon’.
He was described as the natural heir of the Old Masters; as ‘rivalling Rubens and the great Venetians on their own ground’.” http://www.yorkartgallery.org.uk