ObeliskWilliam Blake


Pity, 1795, William Blake
Pity, zoomed in
42.2 cm52.7 cm

Pity is a Symbolist Etching and Watercolor Print created by William Blake in 1795. It lives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The image is in the Public Domain, and tagged Allegory and Horses. Download

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‘Pity, like a naked newborn babe, striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim horsed, upon the sightless couriers of the air, shall blow the horrid deed in every eye’ — These lines from scene 7, act 1 of Macbeth inspired William Blake to create this obsessivly worked monoprint, a style he called his frescos.

In a uniquely personal form of printmaking, Blake began with a relief etching, then applied oil or tempera mixed with chalk, and finally finished by hand with and pen. Blake illustrated many scenes by Shakespeare and Milton — creating a strangely cohesive world of ghostly figures and supernatural ritual.

Reed Enger, "Pity," in Obelisk Art History, Published May 24, 2015; last modified May 19, 2021, http://arthistoryproject.com/artists/william-blake/pity/.

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