The Body of Christ Borne to the Tomb William Blake Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Body of Christ Borne to the Tomb is a famous painting created by William Blake. It is unknown exactly when the picture was made, but it is probably between 1799 and 1800.

The medium of the painting is primarily a tempera on canvas which is mounted into the cardboard. The dimensions include 267 × 378 mm for the support, and the fame is 390 × 497 × 63 mm. It is within the Tate collection with the acquisition presented by Francis T. Palgrave in 1884. The reference number for The Body of Christ Borne to the Tomb painting by William Blake is NO1164 in Tate. It is currently located at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. with an access number of NG1164.

The preservation of the tempera is the best, especially since the painting was done on a linen cover thin enough for the cardboard. The medium is very stiff, so there is high resistance for cracking, which tends to occur on canvases that are too flexible. To preserve the painting for more years to come, a lining of animal glue was added to reduce the opaque white effect. This has been part of Blake's chalk preparatory style in many of his temperas. This has made many intricate details on Blake's painting to be seen even as time goes by. If you are looking for any of Blake's paintings that are on a frame dating back between 1799-1800, then The Body of Christ Borne to the Tomb may be the only one. It is thought that William Blake may have chosen the frame by himself.

The artwork's theme represents the connection that William Blake had with his religion as a Christian. The painting shows up to 5 people, with three of them carrying the body of Christ, probably heading for burial after the crucifixion. There seem to be three women who are thought to be very close to Christ himself. It is not clear who they are, but assumptions point out to be one of the significant women in Christ's life when he was alive. Christ's mother is probably one of the women in the picture, and Mary Magdalene being one of the prominent followers of Christ before his death.

The men carrying the body of Christ seem to be having jars which are probably what is needed to preserve and cleanse the body during burial. The Body of Christ Borne to the Tomb painting clearly shows a lot of intricate details to give a clear visualization of taking the body of Christ to the tomb for burial.