September 22, 2021

Museum goers warned of upsetting content at William Blake exhibition at Tate Britain


Beware of the art! Tate Britain slaps trigger warning for ‘violent’ and ‘challenging’ images at entrance to their exhibition of 200-year-old William Blake masterpieces

  • Image carries a warning that it depicts a ‘brutal treatment of an enslaved person’
  • Blake was known for his radical and rebellious pieces amid turmoil in Britain 
  • William Blake at the Tate Britain showcases 300 of his original works in London  

By Lara Keay For Mailonline

Published: 17:11 EDT, 1 October 2019 | Updated: 04:09 EDT, 2 October 2019

William Blake was born in London in 1757 and died in 1827. He was a poet, painter and engraver

Art lovers are being warned of upsetting content before they enter the new William Blake exhibition at the Tate Britain.

William Blake at the Tate Britain features 300 of his original prints and paintings in the largest collection of his work for nearly 20 years. 

But visitors are being told his artwork contains ‘strong and sometimes challenging imagery’ and ‘depictions of violence and suffering’ as they make their way towards the entrance. 

Blake was known for his radical and rebellious attitude, exploring struggles in his personal life as well as the political turmoil of eighteenth century Britain. 

Among the paintings on display in London are ‘Satan, Sin and Death: Satan Comes to the Gates of Hell’ and ‘Satan Smiting Job with Sore Boils’. 

One museum-goer was unimpressed with the sign, which reads: ‘The art of William Blake contains strong and sometimes challenging imagery, including some depictions of violence and suffering. Please ask a member of staff if you would like more information.’ 

They wrote on social media: ‘The fab William Blake show at Tate Britain comes with its own trigger warning.’

The visitor branded those upset by the artwork ‘snowflakes’ and added: ‘Suffer, snowflakes, MELT!

Visitors at the Tate Britain in London are being told William Blake’s collection contains ‘strong and sometimes challenging imagery’ and ‘depictions of violence and suffering’

Satan, Sin and Death: Satan Comes to the Gates of Hell, 1807 using pen, ink and watercolour. Satan (left), Sin is depicted at half-serpent (centre) and Death is her half-transparent son (right) is one of the pieces included in the exhibition

Pictured: One of the many works on display at the William Blake exhibition in Londo n

Another of the William Blake pieces on display until February next year at the Tate Britain 

‘Great art is free to shock. May such beautiful lines and gorgeous hues ever be the greatest of your worries.’ 

Blake is considered one of the most iconic artists of his time. A painter, printmaker and poet, he was born in Soho in 1757 and loved art from a young age.

He enrolled at the Royal Academy of Arts, where he was expected to copy antique sculptures and look to Renaissance artists like Michelangelo and Raphael.

The last piece Blake completed before his death in 1827 was a version of The Ancient Of Days (above) in which a creator figure reaches down from the clouds. It is also featured 

The Dance of Albion, circa 1795, by Blake. Albion is England, personified, and represents awakening, also features 

A visitor looks around the William Blake exhibition at the Tate Britain in London 

Museum staff install the final work ‘Naomi Entering Ruth and Oprah to the Land of Moab’ at the Tate Britain ahead of the opening last month 

But he soon rejected the Academy’s ‘rigid’ teachings and created his own brand and style.

The Tate Britain showcase is hosted in the same room Blake showed off his work in 1809. 

Other rooms boast digital features which bring Blake’s works to life as they never have been before. 

William Blake at the Tate Britain runs until February 2 2020.    


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