Richard Warren

20thc British art and poetry (mainly), plus bits of my own – "Clearly I tap to you clearly along the plumbing of the world" (W S Graham)

Fuseli and the mucus monkey






Henry Fuseli’s iconic 1781 painting The Nightmare was much imitated and parodied in its day. It’s good to see that the tradition continues, if only in the shape of Chester the Mucus Monkey, star of the current TV ad for Benylin Mucus Cough, whose leap from the wardrobe onto the victim’s chest is a clear borrowing from Fuseli’s goblinesque squatter. The still here is a little small, but it’s the best I could find. Though for anyone who hasn’t seen it, the whole ad is viewable here.

There seem to be other knowing visual correspondences, too: the brown quality of the shadows, the yellow fabric of the lampshades, the light and shade cast on the rear wall. And Fuseli’s original creature does indeed have a kind of greenish-yellow viscosity to him. Though casting Chester as a (Mexican?) wrestler only seems to confuse the metaphor to me. An unnecessary complication, Benylin people, if you happen to be reading.


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