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IIIF Actions
William Blake, 1757–1827

Virgin and Child

Materials & Techniques:
Tempera on panel
11 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches (28.6 x 23.5 cm), Frame: 17 × 14 3/4 inches (43.2 × 37.5 cm)

Signed and dated in lower right: "Freso | 1825 | BLAKE"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
child | Christianity | costume | gesture | gold | halos | hands | light | mother | night | religious and mythological subject | stars | suns | tears | woman
Associated People:
The Virgin Mary
Jesus Christ (7–2 BC/BCE to 30–36 AD/CE)
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

The visionary artist and poet William Blake explored tempera painting in the late 1790s, calling his idiosyncratic technique “fresco.” Most of his temperas represent religious subjects, and in this late example the Virgin holds the Christ child in her lap while she raises her hands in an orans position, denoting prayer. The hieratic composition and extensive use of gold suggest Blake was emulating early Christian mosaics and Byzantine icons. The Virgin’s tears reveal her foreknowledge of Christ’s sacrificial death and her own sorrowful participation in his Passion.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Rachel Rose: Goodnight Moon (SITE Santa Fe, 2023-06-02 - 2023-09-11) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Critique of Reason : Romantic Art, 1760–1860 (Yale University Art Gallery, 2015-03-06 - 2015-07-26) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Human Form Divine - William Blake from the Paul Mellon Collection (Yale Center for British Art, 1997-04-02 - 1997-07-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

William Blake - His Art & Times (Art Gallery of Ontario, 1982-12-03 - 1983-02-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

William Blake - His Art & Times (Yale Center for British Art, 1982-09-15 - 1982-11-14) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Painting in England 1700-1850 - From The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (Yale University Art Gallery, 1965-04-15 - 1965-06-20) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Kathryn Rebecca Barush, Art and the sacred journey in Britain, 1790-1850, Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group), London, New York, 2016, pp. 105, 106, fig. 3.4, N72.R4 B37 2016 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Burlington Fine Arts Club, Exhibition of the works of William Blake, Spottiswoode & Co., London, 1876, p. 44, no. 151, NJ18 B57 B862 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 24-25, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Jessica Dillworth, The Divine Image: Jessica Dillworth on William Blake's Virgin and Child (1825), , August 30, 2011, 0 minutes, 5 seconds, http://www.youtube.com/v/4L34YbF1m0k [Website]

Catherine M. Gordon, British paintings Hogarth to Turner, Frederick Warne, London, 1981, p. 5, ND466 G67 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Matthew Hargraves, "Yale Center for British Art joins Art UK", ArtUK, 24 June 2019, Available online https://artuk.org/discover/stories/yale-center-for-british-art-joins-art-uk [Website]

Painting in England 1700-1850 : collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon : Exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, , 1,2, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1963, p. 199 (v.1), no. 380, pl. 14, ND466 V57 v.1-2 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Painting in England 1700-1850 from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, The Royal Academy of Arts Winter Exhibition 1964-65., , Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 1964, p. 53 (v.1), no. 193, pl. 5, ND466 R68 1964/65 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 45, N590.2 A82 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale University Art Gallery, Painting in England, 1700-1850, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon : [exhibition at] Yale University Art Gallery, April 15-June 20, 1965, , vol. 1, W. Clowes and sons, New Haven, 1965, p. 2 (v.1), no. 7, pl. 5, ND466 Y35 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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