Monday, 15 February 2010

William Blake

Even though William Blake was a great poet, i am going to study his paintings.. He was pretty unknown during his life, but he now considered as having a leading role during the romantic age.

During this time not only did he pursue poetry and has been described as the greatest artist Britain has ever had,  but he was also a keen artist.. 

In the book 'Neoclassicism and Romanticism 1750 - 1850' there is a quotation from Mona Wilson's book 'The Life of William Blake'. The quotation describes how Blake was influenced before drawing these images.. 

William Blake's (1757-1827) Visionary Portraits

'William Blake, from earliest childhood, possessed the gift of spiritual vision. At the age of four, he saw the face of God pressed against the pane of his window, and after the death of his brother, Robert, he often conversed with his spirit and was instructed by him in a new method of relief etching. Blake's visions, like those of Messerschmidt, ere directly relevant to his art. His imagination presented to him the faces and figures of his ghostly visitors in the sharply contoured, strangely stylized forms in which he drew them. What other artists achieved through a conscious effort of arrangement and design, Blake recieved ready-made.'

Even though Blake rarely ventured away from his home, let alone London itself, it shows his use of imagination and emotion to create images as beautiful as these..  I found that his poems are not as Romantic compared to to other poets, yet he is seen as an influential individual who had a big part to play in the Romanticism movement.

Blake's work has a lot of religious information within it, obviously the image above is showing God creating the world. In Carol Rumens article named, 'The Romantic poets: The Human Image and The Divine Image by William Blake'. 

As a thinker, Blake was influenced by Emmanuel Swedenborg, the Swedish scientist, inventor, philosopher and theologian who was, perhaps, the supreme genius of contraries. Coincidentally (no doubt) 1757, the poet's birth-year, was the very year predicted by Swedenborg for Christ's Second Coming. He was another visionary, who claimed to have visited Heaven where he had met the souls of Jews, Muslims and pagans as well as Christians. Fundamental to his religious teaching was the belief that the love of God and one's neighbour mattered more than creed. He also claimed that everything in the natural world had a spiritual counterpart.


Neoclassicism and Romanticism 1750 - 1850 
Lorenz Eitner - Stanford University 
Prentice - Hall International, INC., London 

The Romantic poets: The human image, and the divine image by William Blake
Carol Rumens
The Guardian

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