William Blake The Rock Sculptured with the Recovery of the Ark and the Annunciation 1824–7

Artwork details

Artist
William Blake 1757–1827
Title
The Rock Sculptured with the Recovery of the Ark and the Annunciation
Date 1824–7
Medium Graphite, ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 528 x 374 mm
Collection
Tate
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
Reference
N03368
Not on display

Display caption

Blake thought and wrote of Jerusalem as a city symbolising peace and liberty. He also illustrated events in its history. Here Dante and Virgil are climbing the Mount of Purgatory, described by Dante in canto 10 of Purgatory in his Divine Comedy.

A scene carved in the rock on the left shows the return of the ark of the sacred covenant to Jerusalem. King David dances in front of this ark as it enters the city. Its arrival signalled the liberation of the Jews from the Philistines. Elsewhere, Blake compared the ark to a ‘Dove of Peace’.

December 2004

About this artwork