As if St Paul’s wasn’t pretty enough already.
Going to be floating around central London this weekend? Don’t forget to check out the city’s iconic cathedral, where William Blake’s final masterpiece will be projected to mark what would’ve been the artist’s 262nd birthday.
The dramatic illustration, Ancient of Days (1827), was described by Blake himself as ‘the best I have ever finished’, so we can’t really think of a better piece to light up St Paul’s Cathedral, home to the most visited Blake memorial in the UK.
Though Blake is best known worldwide for his poetry, he had big ambitions as a visual artist. A London boy himself—born in the quirky Soho—the artist imagined adorning the walls of churches and public buildings in the city.
The cityscape of London inspired Blake’s powerful artworks and writing – in fact, his well-known poem Holy Thursday (1789) refers to ‘the high dome of Paul’s’. Blake’s love of the cathedral makes this display an especially fitting homage to his great talent.
Shaped by his personal struggles in a period of political terror and oppression, Blake’s radical beliefs meant he didn’t get much recognition in his own lifetime. This makes the projection of this small yet imposing illustration on an awe-inspiring scale even more special.
In the almost two centuries since his death, Blake has become one of Britain’s most beloved artists, inspiring generations of musicians, writers, artists, and performers worldwide. The memorial to William Blake now in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral is visited by thousands each year. You can also catch the largest ever exhibition of his work at London’s Tate Britain until February 2020.
Blake’s masterpiece will be projected on St Paul’s Cathedral each evening (16:30-21:00) until Sunday December 1, so don’t miss your chance to be the work of one of the city’s most iconic artists, on one of London’s most iconic buildings.
Image credit: William Blake’s The Ancient of Days 1827 (Whitworth, University of Manchester) projected by Tate Britain onto St Paul’s Cathedral Photo: © Tate (Alex Wojcik)