- Museum number
Illustration to Dante's "Divine Comedy", 'Purgatorio', Canto II - The Angel in the boat departing after wafting over the souls for purgation; figure to left standing by rock which houses an altar, in centre group of figures watch figure surrounded by rays of light arriving from right in crescent moon shaped vessel on water. 1824-27
Graphite, pen and ink, with watercolour
- Production date
Height: 521 millimetres
Width: 365 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Blake's illustrations to Dante were commissioned by John Linnell; it was planned to engrave the series, but the project was interrupted by Blake's death.
This drawing was included in the exhibition 'Dante Rediscovered' at the Wordsworth Trust in 2007,see p.164,cat.58, in which David Bindman describes the drawing. The following text is taken from the catalogue:
One notices immediately the difference between Blake's watercolours to Purgatorio and Inferno, even in this very sketchy drawing. The figures are now graceful rather than contorted, and there is an expansiveness of space and light wholly removed from the claustophobic landscape of Hell. In this deeply touching scene the angelic boat deposits souls about to begin their climb towards Purgatory. Dante comes across his old friend the musician Casella, whom he begs to sing 'a little to console my spirit'. Dante is filled with reverie at the song but is interrupted by Cato who urges them upwards to the mountain. The design conflates several moments: the landing on the shore, the embrace of the old friends Dante and Casella, Casella's singing of the song, Cato's impaitience and the departure of the boat that bourght them there in the setting suns radiance.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1982 Sep-Nov, New Haven, Yale Center for British Art, 'Blake', no. 116j
1982/3 Dec-Feb, Toronto AG, 'Blake', no. 116j
2000 April-June, Helsinki City Art Gallery, 'William Blake'
2000 Sep-Nov, Prague Castle, 'William Blake'
2007 Aug-Nov, Grasmere, Dove Cottage, 'Dante Rediscovered'
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Divine Comedy
Associated Title: Purgatorio
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This watercolour was purchased at John Linnell's sale at Christie's on 15.iii.1918 for Charles Ricketts by whom it was presented through the NACF to the BM. For earlier drawings purchased from the series, see 1918,0413.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number