William Blake
Job and his Family 1828, reprinted 1874

Artwork details

William Blake 1757–1827
Job and his Family
Date 1828, reprinted 1874
Medium Line engraving on paper
Dimensions Image: 184 x 150 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
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

This illustrates verses 1-3 of chapter 1 of the Old Testament Book of Job. Job is prosperous and pious. However, he is guided by the books of the Law which lie open before him. The instruments which should be used for praising the Lord hang silent above him. Satan tells the Lord that Job's piety stems from his material prosperity. Satan is allowed to test Job by destroying this prosperity. Job's subsequent trials which make him recognize his error of being pious only according to the law, are depicted in Blake's set of Job engravings. Blake's interest in depicting Job's trials is paralleled by his later exploration of Dante's experiences in the illustrations to the Divine Comedy. Some of these are included in this display.

August 2004

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