Exhibition - William Etty: Art and Controversy - York Art Gallery (2011-12)

25 June 2011 - 22 January 2012

William Etty: Art & Controversy was shown at York Art Gallery from 25 June 2011 to 22nd January 2012.

William Etty, Self-Portrait 1825 (Manchester Art Gallery)

William Etty, Self-Portrait, 1825. Photo credit: Manchester Art Gallery, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode)

The exhibition was co-curated by Dr Sarah Burnage (University of York) and Laura Turner, Curator of Art at the Gallery.  It offered the first major focus on William Etty RA (1787-1849) and his work for more than 50 years, revealing the reasons for his controversial and conflicting reputation as ‘the greatest of all our history painters’, whilst provoking calls to ‘turn from his wicked ways’ as a painter of the female nude.

William Etty: Art and Controversy at York Art Gallery (2011-12)

William Etty, Venus and Cupid (1830), York Art Gallery

Venus and Cupid (1830) by William Etty, oil on canvas. Image courtesy of York Museums Trust :: http://yorkmuseumstrust.org.uk/ :: Public Domain

St John the Baptist by William Etty (York Art Gallery)

St. John the Baptist, by William Etty (1824-25), oil on paper on plywood. Image courtesy of York Museums Trust (http://yorkmuseumstrust.org.uk/) - Public Domain

The exhibition was reviewed widely, including: the Guardian, Visual Culture in Britain (Volume 13, 2012 – Issue 2), and the Independent.

A catalogue of the exhibition was co-edited by Dr Burnage, Laura Turner and Professor Mark Hallett, then Head of the History of Art Department. The exhibition also continues to be accessible on line via the Department of History of Art's multi-media Research Portal, developed by the Department with York Art Gallery.

A symposium was held at York Art Gallery on 25 November 2011.

Watch York Art Gallery's video, in which Dr Burnage introduces Etty and the exhibition:


Main image: Venus and her Satellites (detail), by or after William Etty (1835), oil on wood.
Image courtesy of York Museums Trust :: http://yorkmuseumstrust.org.uk/ :: Public Domain

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