Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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The Rest on the Flight into Egypt (The Repose of the Holy Family in Egypt)

Artist:
William Blake (British, London 1757–1827 London)
Date:
1806
Medium:
Watercolor, pen and black ink over graphite
Dimensions:
Sheet: 13 13/16 × 14 9/16 in. (35.1 × 37 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1906
Accession Number:
06.1322.1
Not on view
Having fled Judea to escape the persecution of King Herod, the Holy Family stops to rest on their way to Egypt. Blake placed them within a lyrical landscape lit by the setting sun and indicated their destination with distant pyramids. Since the biblical text that mentions this journey includes few details, Blake drew upon established devotional traditions to compose the scene. The Virgin seated on the ground to nurse the infant Christ recalls the Renaissance type of the Madonna of Humility. The enormous, sheltering palm tree is described in the apocryphal Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew as having bowed its branches to furnish the travelers with fruit, and the donkey is derived from a seventeenth-century engraving of the subject.
Signature: Signed and dated at lower right with monogram: "1806 WB inv"
(?) Thomas Butts (British, 1757–1845); (?) Thomas Butts Jr.; Richard Monckton Milnes (British, London 1809–1885 Vichy), by 1863; Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe (British, 1858–1948), son of the preceding, sold 1906; Vendor: Carfax & Co. (London)Vendor: Through Roger Eliot Fry (British, Highgate, Middlesex 1866–1934 London)
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Butlin 1981.472
William Michael Rossetti "Annotated Catalogue of Blake's Pictures and Drawings." in Life of William Blake. Edited by Alexander Gilchrist, vol. 2, London, 1863, cat. no. 69, p. 209.

The Works of William Blake. Exh. cat. Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1876, cat. no. 184, p. 50.

William Michael Rossetti "Annotated Catalogue of Blake's Pictures and Drawings." in Life of WIlliam Blake. Edited by Alexander Gilchrist, vol. 2, 2nd enlarged ed. London, 1880, cat. no. 76, p. 217.

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William Michael Rossetti, Walford Graham Robertson "Annotated Lists of Blake's Paintings, Drawings and Engravings." in The Life of William Blake. Life edited by Alexander Gilchrist, London, 1907, p. 424, no. 69.

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Twenty-seven drawings by William Blake. Carl J. Smalley, Mcpherson, Kansas, 1925, illustrated (no plate number).

Thomas Wright The Life of William Blake. 2 vols., Olney, Buckinghamshire, 1929, vol. 2, p. 154, no. 81.

William Blake, 1757–1827: A Descriptive Catalogue of An Exhibition of the Works of William Blake Selected from Collections in the United States Ex. cat. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1939, no. 166, p. 118 (illus. p. 14).

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Walter Mehring European Drawings from the Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Portfolio of Collotype Reproductions [Vol. 1: Italian Drawings; Vol. 2: Flemish, Dutch, German, Spanish, French, and British drawings; Vol. 3: "New Series": Italian, Flemish, Dutch, German, Spanish, French, and British drawings]. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 3 vols., New York, 1942–44, cat. no. 64, vol. 2, ill.

Anne Carlisle English Drawings: XIX Century. Hyperion Press, New York, [1950], p. 78, ill.

Geoffrey Keynes, George Goyder William Blake's Illustrations to the Bible. William Blake Trust, Clairvaux, 1957, fig. no. 96b, p. 30.

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Albert S. Roe "The Thunder of Egypt." in William Blake: Essays for S. Foster Damon. Alvin H. Rosenfeld, 1969, fig. no. 18, pp. 181-2.

The Visionary Hand, Essays for the Study of William Blake's Art and Aesthetics. Robert N. Essick, Hennessey & Ingalls, 1973, fig. no. pl. 42, pp. 118-19.

Martin Butlin The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake. Yale University Press, 2 vols., New Haven, 1981, pl. 543, vol. II, cat. no. 472, pp. 351-2.

David Bindman William Blake: His Art and Times. Ex. cat., New Haven, Yale Center for British Art (Sept. 15-Nov. 14, 1982); Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario (Dec. 3, 1982-Feb. 6, 1983). New Haven, Connecticut, 1982, cat. no. 79, ill.



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