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© RIA Novosti. Alexey Philippov

Mysterious visions

by Joy Neumeyer at 12/12/2011 20:17

William Blake and the British Visionaries

Until Feb. 26 at the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, 12 Ul. Volkhonka, m. Kropotkinskaya, www.arts-museum.ru
Open Tue.-Sun. 10 am-7 pm, closed Mon.; ticket office closes at 6 pm Russian and CIS adults 300 rubles, concessions 100 rubles; foreign adults 400 rubles, concessions 200 rubles

Dreamy visions of Greek mythology and Dante’s damned souls were among the inspirations of mystical British poet and artist William Blake (1757–1827), whose work has come to Moscow for the first time. With the help of London’s Tate Gallery, the Pushkin Museum is presenting engravings, watercolors and tempera works from the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and other British collections.

Visitors discussing pictures by Edward Burne-Jones, within the ‘William Blake and the British Visionaries’ exhibition

© RIA Novosti. / Alexey Philippov

Visitors discussing pictures by Edward Burne-Jones, within the ‘William Blake and the British Visionaries’ exhibition

Unpopular during his lifetime, Blake’s work was rediscovered in the 20th century, going on to influence figures from psychoanalyst Carl Jung to Bob Dylan. Blake is most famed for his hand-colored relief etchings of biblical stories and well-known literary works. His illustrations feature a powerful personal style brimming with the artist’s own symbols and visions, which he claimed to have witnessed since he was a child.

Famous works on display at the Pushkin Museum include an 1811 watercolor depicting the judgment of Paris and a monotype of Sir Isaac Newton (1795), which articulated Blake’s opposition to Enlightenment thought. The exhibition also features his engravings and illustrations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” and works by Shakespeare, Milton and Spenser.

Viewers can also see work by later British artists inf luenced by Blake, such as Pre- Raphaelites Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones, Romantic landscapist Samuel Palmer and controversial painter Francis Bacon. Bacon, known for his abstracted images of rotting carcasses and screaming popes, was referred to by Margaret Thatcher as “that man who paints those dreadful pictures.”

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