William Etty was considered by his contemporaries to be one of the finest history painters that England had produced, but he slipped into obscurity after his death in 1849. Although he was a respected Royal Academician, Etty's paintings of voluptuous nudes drew harsh criticism from both the the artistic elite and the public. William Etty: Art and Controversy is the first major exhibition of the painter's work for over 50 years, and aims not only to restore his place alongside his contemporaries, but also to revisit the critical controversy that dogged him throughout his life.York Art Gallery has the largest collection of Etty's work in any public gallery, and this exhibition will include around 70 paintings, more than 1,000 sketches and drawings and a selection of the artist's letters and personal documents. On show will be not only Etty's contentious nudes and large-scale historical works, but also his lesser-known landscapes and portraits. The works themselves will be interspersed with contemporary excerpts from newspapers and journals critiquing Etty's work, inviting the viewer to enter into the debate.

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