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William Blake
«Dante's<Divine Comedy>: The Circle of the Lustful» 1826-27
engraving and dry point
The National Museum of Western Art

  • [Prints and Drawings Exhibition]
  • Prints by William Blake
  • Saturday 22 October 2011 - Sunday 29 January 2012
  • Venue:Prints and Drawings Gallery, NMWA

    Organized by:National Museum of Western Art

William Blake (1757–1827), renowned as a major modern British poet and painter, also created a large number of copper plate prints. Inspired by unique forces, Blake's prints construct a magical, symbolic universe that stands as a precursor to the British Romantic movement. These prints continue to fascinate viewers even today.

During Blake's lifetime, the principal role of British printmakers was simply the creation of faithful reproductions of paintings. Blake was a rarity in that he shunned this path and created works based on his own creative impulses. Fusing poetry with visual images, emphasizing linear expression, Blake sought to express his own unique artistic concepts. Unfortunately these were not always to the taste of his contemporaries and he was largely unvalued during his lifetime. Still, throughout his life Blake stuck to his own ideals, in spite of suffering the world's lack of understanding.

This display focuses on prints by Blake, including his illustrations for the Book of Job from the Old Testament and Dante's Divine Comedy, from the NMWA collection. These works by Blake are complemented by a display of examples by the Renaissance printmakers he admired, such as Albrecht Dürer and Marcantonio Raimondi. We hope that visitors will enjoy this introduction to Blake's print arts realm.

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