DAILY ART FIX: William Blake’s famous flop of an exhibition and the critic who described him as ‘an unfortunate lunatic’

Art world links which caught my eye…

William Blake “The Spiritual Form of Nelson Guiding Leviathan”

Part of the legacy of visionary artist William Blake (November 28, 1757 – August 12, 1827) acts as a warning. It demonstrates how innovative artistic genius can go unrecognized by the status quo. A new book William Blake vs the World, explores how Blake was ignored and even abused by his contemporaries, such as the time when he dared to set up his own 19th century pop up gallery over his brother’s haberdashery. A critic named Robert Hunter created his own terrible legacy, and will forever be remembered as one who failed to appreciate Blake’s achievements in real time.

For the rest of the article Hunt delights in being vicious, patronising and cruel. He seems intent on putting this working- class creator in his place. It is hard not to see him as one of the uninspired “Hirelings in the Camp, the Court, & the University” that Blake attacks in the preface to Milton. “The poor man fancies himself a great master”, Hunt wrote, “and has painted a few wretched pictures, some of which are unintelligible allegory, others an attempt at sober character by caricature representation, and the whole ‘blotted and blurred,’ and very badly drawn. These he calls an Exhibition, of which he has published a Catalogue, or rather a farrago of nonsense, unintelligibleness, and egregious vanity, the wild effusions of a distempered brain.”

William Blake “The Spiritual Form of Pitt Guiding Behemoth”

Read the full article here: ART NEWSPAPER – William Blake’s famous flop of an exhibition and the critic who described him as ‘an unfortunate lunatic’


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