William Blake 1757–1827
The Pit of Disease: The Falsifiers
Date 1826–7, reprinted 1892
Medium Line engraving on paper
Dimensions Image: 243 x 340 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
This engraving, showing a scene from Canto 29 of Dante’s Inferno, reproduces the original watercolour.
Blake’s print can also be compared with John Flaxman’s interpretation of the scene, which is shown in a display case in the centre of the room. Flaxman’s composition focuses almost exclusively on the sinners themselves, with Dante and Virgil only just seen in the top right corner. Blake’s illustration seems more other-worldly, especially the bridge of petrified figures on the left, which may represent Fallen Man.
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