William Blake The Crucifixion: ‘Behold Thy Mother’ c.1805

Artwork details

Artist
William Blake 1757–1827
Title
The Crucifixion: ‘Behold Thy Mother’
Date c.1805
Medium Ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 413 x 300 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by the executors of W. Graham Robertson through the Art Fund 1949
Reference
N05895
On display at Tate Britain

Display caption

Blake often treated subjects from Jerusalem’s history. Christian thought is centred on Christ’s crucifixion at Calvary outside the city, when he died to redeem mankind. His cross, his resurrection and return to earth three days after his death are central to Stanley Spencer’s Resurrection of the Soldiers altarpiece at Sandham; sketches for this are shown in the display case to your left.

Spencer believed that the soldiers had a ‘perfect understanding’ of the sacrifice they had to make. This suggests that both Blake’s ‘Mental Fight’ to build the Jerusalem of peace in England, and the soldiers’ physical fight are equally valid.

July 2008

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