William BlakeJob, his Wife and his Friends: The Complaint of Job. Verso: Job's Wife and Eight Other Sketches c.1785

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Artwork details

Artist
William Blake (1757‑1827)
Title
Job, his Wife and his Friends: The Complaint of Job. Verso: Job's Wife and Eight Other Sketches
Date c.1785
MediumInk and watercolour on paper. Verso: graphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 311 x 451 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Bequeathed by Miss Alice G.E. Carthew 1940
Reference
N05200
Not on display

Display caption

This work shows the 'perfect and upright' God-fearing Job of the Old Testament, who has endured the loss of his children and all his possessions. He has also been smitten by boils. In despair, he cries out to God 'What is Man that thou shouldest... try him every moment?' Blake's image of the Biblical Job as one who 'holdeth fast his integrity' in the face of adversity has autobiographical echoes. Having endured and recovered from his trials Job praises his Lord. Similarly, Blake, just before he died, 'burst out into singing of the things he saw in heaven'.

April 2001

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