Research Seminar - ‘A Monster of Beautiful Loathsomeness’: William Etty’s Sirens and Ulysses (2019)

Bowland Auditorium, University of York, 4 February 2019

The Department of History of Art was delighted to welcome back alumna Dr Beatrice Bertram (Senior Curator, York Art Gallery) on Monday 4 February 2019, when she gave a research seminar on ‘“A Monster of Beautiful Loathsomeness”: William Etty’s Sirens and Ulysses’.  Dr Bertram gave fascinating, and at times amusing, insight into the painting and its creation and reception.  The research seminar was chaired by PhD student Mariam Hale.

Etty considered Sirens and Ulysses to be among his most important works but it caused controversy, as so many of his paintings, when it was first exhibited in 1837, because of the nudity and the realism of the decaying corpses in the foreground. The large oil painting, measuring 297 x 442.5 cm, underwent major conservation at Manchester Art Gallery from 2002 to 2006, when it went back on display for the first time since the late 1880s.

Research Seminar - Beatrice Bertram (York Art Gallery) and Mariam Hale (chair)

Dr Beatrice Bertram and research seminar chair, PhD student Mariam Hale

The Sirens and Ulysses by William Etty, Manchester Art Gallery

William Etty, The Sirens and Ulysses (exhibited 1837), oil on canvas, Manchester Art Gallery Image: © Manchester City Galleries, reproduced under CC licence BY-NC-ND

Main image: William Etty, Three Female Nudes, Sketch for an Unknown Work (detail), c. 1820-1830, oil on wood Image courtesy of York Museums Trust :: :: Public Domain

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