Cerberus was a single item from a famous series of artworks known as William Blake's illustrations to accompany Dante's Divine Comedy. The whole set of works was completed between the years of 1824 and 1827 although we cannot accurately date any of the specific pieces within that timeframe. The artist made use of graphite and ink in order to produce the various forms within this design and then applied watercolour in order to add colour within certain regions. One can immediately spot the application of red and yellow paint for example, which sweeps across the horizontal. The piece is around 53cm in width, and 37cm in height, though the item has been framed and so it obviously larger now because of that. The Tate own this item, having acquired the piece in 1919 through a combination of several organisations which aimed to bring more historic art into public ownership. Thankfully, most of the Tate's collection can be viewed by anyone, normally for free, though you might need to arrange a specific appointment in order to see some of the more light-sensitive artworks.

The creature found in this artwork lies in front of flames which represent Hell itself. The content refers to Inferno VI, 13–24, where a three-headed monster guards the entrance to the third circle of Hell. Blake had produced an earlier version of this depiction which also still remains today. They were constructed at around the same time, with this version appearing second, perhaps with the artist not entirely comfortable with his first effort. The artist chooses to capture the creature within a cave in both versions even though Dante did not include this detail within his own original texts - this level of creativity and artistic freedom is entirely typical of Blake and something that many artists at the time appreciated most about his work. One of the two versions was originally exhibited as Cerberus-the Circle of the Gluttons, but it has not been possible to determine which one.

Visitors to the various Tate galleries will be able to enjoy a wide selection of famous artists from the UK and elsewhere in Europe and the US. Tate Britain and Tate Modern are currently amongst the most visited art galleries in the world and take advantage of the large numbers of tourists who visit London each and every year. Blake's Newton can also be found here, whilst other artworks that may interest you include Francis Bacon's Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, Flatford Mill by John Constable and also some artworks by perhaps the most famous British artist of all time - JMW Turner. His paintings on display here include The Golden Bough and Norham Castle, Sunrise and he remains one of the biggest draws to the collection, particularly for those coming from other parts of the UK. The more modern selections of art tend to be more internationally-focused, perhaps underlining a change in course of their acquisation strategy, or perhaps just changing tastes within the UK as a whole.

Cerberus in Detail William Blake