William Blake, The Punishment of The Thieves

Tate Britain, London

Date: 1824-7
Technique: Chalk, pen and ink and watercolour on paper, 372 x 527 mm

/from Illustrations to Dante's "Divine Comedy"/
This illustrates Dante's description of the pit of thieves. This is the seventh pit of the eighth circle, described in the Inferno. Dante wrote of how

the chasm

Opening to view, I saw a crowd within

Of serpents terrible, so strange of shape

And hideous, that remembrance in my veins

Yet shrinks the vital currents.

... Amid this dread exuberance of woe

Ran naked spirits winged with horrid fear,

... with serpents were their hands behind them bound,

... And lo! on one

Near to our side, darted an adder up...


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