Upcoming

WILLIAM BLAKE’S UNIVERSE

In the summer of 2024, the Hamburger Kunsthalle will present the astonishing oeuvre of the English draughtsman and graphic artist William Blake (1757-1827), produced in the years around 1800 against the backdrop of revolution and war in Europe, slavery in the European colonies, and oppression in his native Great Britain. Blake’s works express his critique of his world while at the same time conjuring a vision of universal redemption. Both his mystical imagery and grim literary works continue to be emulated even in today’s pop culture. However, his work is still little known outside of England. This exhibition will be the first public showing of the entire Blake collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge together with the bequest of the well-known Blake collector Geoffrey Keynes. Even though he never left Great Britain, Blake was evidently a genuine European, a quality that comes to light by juxtaposing his works with those of selected European contemporaries, making for a show comprising some 120 exhibits.

Definitive aspects of Blake’s art resulting from his training at the Royal Academy of Arts in London are illustrated here, along with his engagement with antiquity and the Renaissance and his enthusiasm for the mystical imagery of the early modern period. The exhibition furthermore compares Blake’s work to that of other artists who, in the face of devastating political crises, turned to visual art to rebuild the world, for example the Romantic artist Philipp Otto Runge (1777–1810), who likewise strove to visualise the spiritual renewal of humanity  in a novel artistic form. Blake’s depictions of the soul’s journey from the fall of man to redemption are also contrasted with works by contemporaries such as his younger compatriot Samuel Palmer (1805–1881) and also Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840) in order to demonstrate the artistic tensions between personal, national and universal liberation around 1800.

The show is a first-time collaboration between the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge. After nearly 50 years have passed, it follows on from the cycle “Art around 1800” conceived by former Kunsthalle director Werner Hofmann, in which Blake’s work was presented for the first and last time in Germany in 1975.

Supported by: Hubertus-Wald-Stiftung, Freunde der Kunsthalle e.V., Philipp Otto Runge Stiftung, Wolfgang Ratjen Stiftung und Tavalozza Foundation

 

Upcoming

KATHLEEN RYAN

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untranquil now: a constellation of narratives and resonances

artistic gestures, configurations, performances and projections
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Albert Oehlen

Computer Paintings
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ISA MONA LISA

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Nudes, Antiquity, Anatomy

Exploring the world through drawing
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Hanns Kunitzberger

Likeness 2002-2005
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Illusion

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Romantic Surrealism

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Maria Lassnig and Edvard Munch

The Colours of Emotion
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