Friday, 5 December 2014

William Blake - The Ashmolean

William Blake, The Ancient of Days, 1794
William Blake: Apprentice and Master is at The Ashmolean until 1 March 2015. 
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. 
He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence. 
A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. 
The most sublime act is to set another before you. 
The fox condemns the trap, not himself. 
One thought fills immensity. 
Exuberance is Beauty. 
Enough! or Too much. 
(A selection from The Proverbs of Hell in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, by William Blake. Engraved c.1790)
Has any artist so perfectly integrated word and image as William Blake? Has any artist so brilliantly married lyricism with revolutionary politics and visionary originality? I love William Blake’s work and am thrilled to see that the Ashmolean has recreated the studio (originally at No 13 Hercules Buildings, Hercules Road, Lambeth) in which he produced his illuminated books and developed innovatory printmaking techniques. Among the works on display are several illuminated books, including The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and a complete set of the plates from Europe: A Prophecy, and individual plates such as Nebuchadnezzar and Newton
Watch BBC Arts film: Inside the Studio of William Blake; read an essay by Phillip Pullman: William Blake and Me, a review by Laura Cumming and an article about the exhibition by Mark Brown. Click on images to enlarge.
William Blake, Nebuchadnezzar, 1795
William Blake, Satan, c1789
William Blake, Newton, 1795-c1805
William Blake, The Ghost of a Flea, c1819-20
William Blake,  The Marriage of Heaven and Hell - title page, c1790-3
William Blake,  The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: The Proverbs of Hell, c1790-3
William Blake, The Dance of Albion (Glad Day), c1796

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