UK

William Blake’s artwork to be displayed in new exhibition

The show will explore Blake’s connections with the work of his peers.

The Ancient of Days. Frontispiece to ‘Europe A Prophecy’
William Blake artwork The Ancient of Days. Frontispiece to ‘Europe A Prophecy’ (Amy Jugg/The Fitzwilliam Museum, Image Li)

More than 90 works by the artist William Blake are to be displayed in an exhibition which aims to shed new light on the British poet and printmaker.

The exhibition at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum, called William Blake’s Universe, will explore Blake’s connections with contemporary European artists and draw parallels with the work of his peers, mentors and followers.

Blake, who died in 1827 aged 69, is characterised as part of the Romantic movement.

The exhibition looks at Blake’s peers
Artwork The exhibition looks at Blake’s peers (bpk | Hamburger Kunsthalle | Elk)

The exhibition has been organised in connection with the German art museum the Hamburger Kunsthalle and will feature a number of loaned works.

Visitors will be able to view pieces by the German Romantic artist Philipp Otto Runge, whose art has rarely been seen in the UK.

Among the exhibits on loan from the Hamburger Kunsthalle will be Runge’s The Large Morning (1808-1809), a fragmentary oil painting widely considered to be one of his most important works, before his death aged 33.

Blake is seen as a key figure of the Romantic movement, but his work also took in mystical themes
William Blake artwork Blake is seen as a key figure of the Romantic movement, but his work also took in mystical themes (Katie Young/The Fitzwilliam Museum, Image Li)

The exhibition’s curators, David Bindman and Esther Chadwick, said in a statement: “This is the first exhibition to show William Blake not as an isolated figure but as part of European-wide attempts to find a new spirituality in face of the revolutions and wars of his time.

“We are excited to be able to shed new light on Blake by placing his works in dialogue with wider trends and themes in European art of the Romantic period, including transformations of classical tradition, fascination with Christian mysticism, belief in the coming apocalypse, spiritual regeneration and national revival.”

William Blake’s Universe opens to the public from Friday, and runs until May 19.