Tate 08 Series: William Blake: The River of Life

William Blake, 'The River of Life' circa 1805

William Blake
The River of Life circa 1805
Pen and ink and watercolour on paper
image: 305 x 336 mm support: 442 x 432 mm
Bequeathed by W. Graham Robertson 1949

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A painter, printmaker, poet and mystical philosopher, William Blake is regarded as one of the great geniuses in the history of art. He was largely ignored in his own lifetime, yet today is revered as a major reference point for British culture, appealing to a more universal audience than perhaps any other artist. He was attracted to narratives and themes – including Biblical subjects and classical poetry. The display presents around 40 works created in a range of media including tempera, watercolour, pen and ink, as well as his celebrated colour prints. It explores ideas of the cycle of life, death and rebirth.