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Art Diary

William Blake’s Universe

9 June 2024

Those who attended this exhibition when it was at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge earlier this year may have noticed that many of the artworks on display were on loan from Hamburg. This collaboration between the institutions places the work and ideas of William Blake amid the birth of European – especially German – Romanticism, and examines how revolutionary movements in France and North America shaped his preoccupations (14 June–8 September). The exhibition traces Blake’s career from his time as a student at the Royal Academy, including drawings by Academicians of the day, to his engravings featuring Urizen, the white-bearded figure who lent Blake’s mythology much of its moral and aesthetic drama. Some of the most rewarding drawings in the exhibition are by Philipp Otto Runge, whose gorgeous renderings of his faith in the cyclical, dependable workings of nature can be compared to Blake’s own Romantic stirrings.

Find out more from the Hamburger Kunsthalle’s website.

Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary

Ugolino and his Sons in Prison (1826), William Blake. Photo: © Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Europe a Prophecy title page (1794), William Blake. Photo: © Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

The Ancient of Days; Europe a Prophecy frontispiece (1794), William Blake. Photo: © Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge