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William Blake: The Artist

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by Erin (subscribe)
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Beginning in September, Tate Britain will be hosting a number of events to celebrate the opening of an exhibition, William Blake: The Artist, dedicated to the art of William Blake 'the way he wanted it to be seen.' It will be the largest exhibition of Blake's work for the last two decades.

William Blake, The Lovers' Whirlwind, Dante's Inferno, Canto V, 37-138; Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons


William Blake is perhaps best remembered for his connections with the Romantic movement and his literary works The Tyger and Songs of Innocence and Experience, but he contributed to many disciplines, including poetry, art, printmaking, and political activism. Described as 'radical and rebellious,' his life bridged two centuries of intense political and social challenges. He produced printings, engravings, paintings, and watercolours inspired by symbolism, religion, literature, mythology, and his own late 18th to early 19th century milieu. He also provided illustrations for his own literary works, as well as illustrations from great literature of the past such as Chaucer's pilgrims, Dante's Inferno, and John Milton's Paradise Lost. Blake's choice of these authors and his dark and often chaotic images are reflective of his deeply held political and social views, his personal struggles and anger with the conditions of Church and State, and his vision for the future.

William Blake, Isaac Newton (1795); Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons


The upcoming exhibition at Tate Britain seeks to present Blake's art as 'he would have wanted it to be seen' and to 'rediscover him as a visual artist for the 21st century.' During his life, Blake found success as an engraver, but his other works (art and poetry) were largely unknown during his lifetime and many decades beyond.

The exhibition will meet this dual purpose of recognition and discovery by showcasing works in two very different ways. The first room will be a recreation of the small space where Blake first showed his art in 1809. In a second room, digital technology will deliver 'Blake's dream of showing his works at enormous scale.'

William Blake, The Body of Abel Found by Adam & Eve; Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons


On 20th September, the Live Literature Company presents an evening of music, dance, literary readings, and other imagery in William Blake: A Live Literature Celebration. The show will be followed by a private viewing of William Blake: The Artist. There are also private viewings and guided tours available for members of the museum. For everyone else, the exhibition will open on 11th September 2019 and run until 2 February 2020.
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When: Monday to Sunday 10.0018.00
Phone: 44 (0) 20 7887 8888
Where: Tate Britain, Millbank London SW1P 4RG
Cost: 18 / FREE for Members Concessions 17 Family child 1218 years 5 Under 12s FREE (up to four per family adult)
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