About this artwork

This picture was one of Etty’s first large-scale history paintings (304 x 399cm). In 1825, he received widespread fame when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy. It shows a defeated warrior as the victor prepares to kill him, and a woman clutching his waist, pleading for the vanquished warrior’s life. She represents the beauty and magnificence of mercy. Etty was sometimes accused of unnecessarily exposing flesh in his pictures for immoral amusement, however he claimed that he used nudes as a way of expressing lofty morals. In 1831, this much admired painting was bought by the newly founded Royal Scottish Academy to encourage contemporary Scottish artists to imitate Etty’s practice of grand history painting. It was presented to the National Galleries of Scotland in 1910.

  • title:
    The Combat: Woman Pleading for the Vanquished
  • accession number:
    NG 189
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
  • measurements:
    (framed: 300.00 x 387.50 x 12.00 cm)
  • credit line:
    Purchased by the Royal Scottish Academy 1831; transferred and presented 1910

William Etty

William Etty