The Wrestlers (Etty)

The Wrestlers (Etty)
The Wrestlers is an oil painting by English artist William Etty, painted around 1840 in the life class of the Royal Academy. It depicts a wrestling match between a black man and a white man, both glistening with sweat and under an intense light that emphasises their musculature. Etty was best known for his paintings of nude or near-nude women in historical and mythological settings but had also painted men involved in various forms of combat. At that time, sports were becoming increasingly popular, and the painting is both a reflection of this trend and a part of the English tradition of copying poses from classical Hellenistic works. It was also a time of change in the British attitude to race relations. In this period Etty often made a conscious effort to illustrate moral lessons in his work, and it is not clear whether he chose the topic as a form of social commentary or simply because the contrast between the dark and pale flesh tones was visually striking. The Wrestlers, as part of a private collection, was not seen publicly from about 1849 until 1947, when it was put on sale and purchased by the York Art Gallery, where it remains.

Carolyn James

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard. Google

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