If any thing can be said of William Etty it is that he literally put the nude on the map in the early 19th century, so much so that he drew continuous fire from his critics as being an unrepentant pornographer. Etty apprenticed to a print maker before taking up painting in 1806. He entered the Royal Art Schools in 1807 and continued to frequent life classes for his entire career. He was a pupil of Thomas Lawrence, publisher of Hull Packet and East Riding Times. He studied anatomy and proportion extensively for the following twelve years. From 1811 he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and the British Institution and in 1816 he worked in the studio of Jean-Baptiste Regnault in Paris. In 1822, Etty traveled through France and Italy, copying works of Titian and Rubens. After this period of travel, he created large paintings of nudes and historical scenes. Etty's nudes were criticized by the Press and deemed indecent. Luckily Etty had many wealthy patrons and eventually was given a solo exhibition at the Society of Arts in London in 1849. In 1848, he retired to his native city of York, where today the largest collection of his works can be seen. This little drawing came from a London Auction House several years ago. If you get a magnifying glass you can see a very delicate pencil drawing underneath, overlain by a pen and ink drawing and light wash. A lot of action packed into such a small drawing. Based upon their pose, I like to think of them as the "Three Male Graces", Football, Rugby, and Cricket!
Caption: Three Nude Graces, three male nudes
Artist: William Etty (1787- 1849)
Medium: Pencil sketch, pen and ink drawing with wash, overlay.
Dated: undated, early 19th century