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William Blake at the Pushkin Museum
Ian Mitchell

On Monday 28th November the new British Ambassador to Russia, His Excellency Tim Barrow, opened a fascinating exhibition of the art of the eighteenth century visionary, William Blake, in the concert hall of the Pushkin Museum on Volkhonka Street. The display has been mounted in co-operation with the Tate Gallery in London, and contains most of Blake’s works exhibited there, which in turn comprises most of Blake’s visual work that is still extant. This is the first time these works have been shown in Russia. Blake is well known as a poet, the author of Songs of Innocence and Experience, “Tyger, tyger, burning bright/In the forests of the night” and, of course, Jerusalem (which some people think should become the English national anthem if the United Kingdom is ever dissolved). But his paintings and book illustrations are less well known. 150 pieces are now on display in Moscow. Not only that, they are hung alongside works by artists like Rosetti and Burne- Jones who were influenced by Blake. The opening ceremony was followed by a concert of Blake’s verse set to music by Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten and others. The exhibition is on until 19 February 2012.

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