John Henry Fuseli/ Johann Heinrich Füssli, Titania Awakening (Titanias Erwachen)

Kunstmuseum, Winterthur

Date: 1785-1790
Technique: Oil on canvas, 2220 x 2800 mm

Titania, the queen of the fairies, wakes and tells Oberon of her dream in which she was in love with an ass. Oberon explains that she has been enchanted. A group of good fairies appear on the left. To the right, Bottom sleeps surrounded by evil spirits, including a wicked imp riding a 'nightmare'. This was the second painting of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595-6) commissioned from Fuseli by John Boydell.

QUEEN. My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
Methought, I was enamour’d of an ass.
OBERON. There lies your love.
QUEEN. How came these things to pass?
O, how mine eyes do loath his visage now!
OBERON. Silence, a while. – Robin, take off this
head. – Titania, music call; and strike more dead
Than common sleep, of all these five the sense.

William Shakespeare,
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595-6), Act IV, Scene 1


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