William Blake
Dante and Virgil Penetrating the Forest 1824–7

Artwork details

William Blake 1757–1827
Dante and Virgil Penetrating the Forest
Date 1824–7
Medium Graphite, ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 371 x 527 mm
Acquisition Purchased with the assistance of a special grant from the National Gallery and donations from the Art Fund, Lord Duveen and others, and presented through the the Art Fund 1919
Not on display

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Blake produced one hundred and two watercolours illustrating Dante's poem The Divine Comedy. He drew and painted them in a large volume, but they are now separately mounted. They show varying stages of completion. This work is unfinished; the pencil lines of his first sketch remain clearly visible.

Blake added grey shadows in carbon black pigment on top of the colours he had used first. He strengthened some of the drawing with pen and ink over the colour. Both the blue pigment and the mixed green shades contain indigo. This lowers the contrast between them.

September 2004

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