Trivium Art History
William Blake
Pity, 1795 — William Blake,

Pity

William Blake, 1795

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42.2 cm52.7 cm

‘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 printmaling, 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.

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