The seventh son of a Yorkshire baker, William Etty showed a precocious talent and was sent by a wealthy uncle to the Royal Academy Schools in London in 1806. The following year he was made a pupil of Thomas Lawrence, a great influence. He travelled widely in Italy, where he encountered the paintings of Titian and Veronese, which had an enormous impact on his work. He adopted their warm, rich colours and also the compositional rhythms of Rubens. Like his hero Titian, Etty would become a painter of great natural bravura and ambition.
His career flourished from the 1820s and his large exhibition pieces of historical and biblical subjects were based on a large number of nude studies made in the life room at the Royal Academy.
Maas, Rupert. British Pictures. London: The Maas Gallery. 2006.
Last modified 8 February 2005