At the end of 2008, Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture, Tate Liverpool is presenting a display of major works by William Blake (1757-1827), the renowned painter, printmaker, poet and mystical philosopher. Largely ignored in his own lifetime, Blake is today regarded as one of the great geniuses of British art, appealing to a universal audience. From 12 December 2008 until 22 March 2009, the Wolfson gallery will house selected William Blake masterpieces, in a spellbinding display that re-considers the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
Revered as an important reference point for British culture and Romanticist Art, Blake’s influence extends far beyond visual arts, inspiring not only artists but writers, poets, musicians and illustrators. He was largely attracted to narratives and themes - including Biblical subjects and classical poetry - that enabled him to express the triumph of innocence and virtue over tyranny and hypocrisy. Blake’s philosophy was underpinned by unorthodox political beliefs, profound anti-materialism and the notion that there existed a more significant spiritual world beyond mere physical existence. This display uses his iconic works to consider the life cycle not as a predetermined journey, but rather as part of a totality within which life, death, resurrection and the afterlife belong to a greater spiritual realm.
Tate has one of the most important and extensive collections of William Blake work in the world. This display includes a special selection of his finest work, including the artist’s celebrated colour prints which have been influential in expanding the creative possibilities of the medium. Key works include a selection of Blake’s famed watercolour illustrations to Dante’s The Divine Comedy, as well as major paintings such as Newton (1795/c.1805),The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve (c.1826) and The Bard, from Gray (1809).
Tate08 Partners is Tate Liverpool’s sector-exclusive ‘super club’. The partners have directly supported the Gallery’s key ambitions during the years leading up to, and including, 2008. Partners include: Cains Brewery, DLA Piper and Manchester Airports Group.