Le génie du mal – Guillaume Geefs

Le génie du mal (installed 1848) or The Genius of Evilor the genie of evil or the spirit of evil, known informally in English as Lucifer or The Lucifer of Liège, is a religious sculpture executed in white marble by the Belgian artist Guillaume Geefs. Francophone art historians most often refer to the figure as an ange déchu, a “fallen angel”. It is located within the elaborate pulpit (French chaire de vérité, “seat of truth”) of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Liège, and depicts a classically beautiful man in his physical prime, chained, seated, and nearly nude but for drapery gathered over his thighs, his full length ensconced within a mandorla of bat wings. Geefs’ work replaces an earlier sculpture created for the space by his younger brother Joseph Geefs, L’ange du mal, which was removed from the cathedral because of its distracting allure and “unhealthy beauty”. In 1837, Guillaume Geefs was put in charge of designing the elaborate pulpit for St. Paul’s, the theme of which was “the Triumph of Religion over the Genius of Evil”. Geefs had come to prominence creating monumental and public sculptures in honor of political figures, expressing and capitalizing on the nationalist spirit that followed Belgian independence in 1830. Techniques of realism coupled with Neoclassical restraint discipline any tendency toward Romantic heroism in these works, but Romanticism was to express itself more strongly in the Lucifer project.

From the outset, sculpture was an integral part of Geefs’ pulpit design, which featured representations of the saints Peter, Paul, Hubert the first Bishop of Liège, and Lambert of Maastricht. A drawing of the pulpit by the Belgian illustrator Médard Tytgat, published in 1900, shows the front; Le génie du mal would be located at the base of the stairs on the opposite side, but the book in which the illustration appears omits mention of the work.

The commission was originally awarded to Geefs’ younger brother Joseph, who completed L’ange du mal in 1842 and installed it the following year. It generated controversy at once and was criticized for not representing a Christian ideal. The cathedral administration declared that “this devil is too sublime.” The local press intimated that the work was distracting the “pretty penitent girls” who should have been listening to the sermons. Bishop van Bommel soon ordered the removal of L’ange du mal, and the building committee passed the commission for the pulpit sculpture to Guillaume Geefs, whose version was installed at the cathedral permanently in 1848.

“The Chained Genius” – Without a statement from the artist, it can only be surmised that Guillaume Geefs sought to address specific criticisms leveled at his brother Joseph’s work. Guillaume’s génie shows less flesh, and is marked more strongly by satanic iconography as neither human nor angelic. Whether Guillaume succeeded in removing the “seductive” elements may be a matter of individual perception.

Horns, and a collocation of human and animal anatomy (detaGuillaume shifts the direction of the fallen angel’s gaze so that it leads away from the body, and his Lucifer’s knees are drawn together protectively. The drapery hangs from behind the right shoulder, pools on the right side, and undulates thickly over the thighs, concealing the hips, not quite covering the navel. At the same time, the flesh that remains exposed is resolutely modeled, particularly in the upper arms, pectorals, and calves, to reveal a more defined, muscled masculinity. The uplifted right arm allows the artist to explore the patterned tensions of the serratus anterior muscles, and the gesture and the angle of the head suggest that the génie is warding off “divine chastisement”.

Source: Wikipedia

William Blake (1757 – 1827)

 

by Thomas Phillips, oil on canvas, 1807

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. What he called his prophetic works were said by 20th-century critic Northrop Frye to form “what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language”. His visual artistry led 21st-century critic Jonathan Jones to proclaim him “far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced”. In 2002, Blake was placed at number 38 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. While he lived in London his entire life, except for three years spent in Felpham, he produced a diverse and symbolically rich œuvre, which embraced the imagination as “the body of God” or “human existence itself”.

Although Blake was considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, he is held in high regard by later critics for his expressiveness and creativity, and for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. His paintings and poetry have been characterised as part of the Romantic movement and as “Pre-Romantic”. A committed Christian who was hostile to the Church of England (indeed, to almost all forms of organised religion), Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American Revolutions. Though later he rejected many of these political beliefs, he maintained an amiable relationship with the political activist Thomas Paine; he was also influenced by thinkers such as Emanuel Swedenborg. Despite these known influences, the singularity of Blake’s work makes him difficult to classify. The 19th-century scholar William Michael Rossetti characterised him as a “glorious luminary”, and “a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors”.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Early Life:

William Blake was born on 28 November 1757 at 28 Broad Street (now Broadwick St.) in Soho, London. He was the third of seven children, two of whom died in infancy. Blake’s father, James, was a hosier. He attended school only long enough to learn reading and writing, leaving at the age of ten, and was otherwise educated at home by his mother Catherine Blake (née Wright). Even though the Blakes were English Dissenters, William was baptised on 11 December at St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London. The Bible was an early and profound influence on Blake, and remained a source of inspiration throughout his life.

Blake started engraving copies of drawings of Greek antiquities purchased for him by his father, a practice that was preferred to actual drawing. Within these drawings Blake found his first exposure to classical forms through the work of Raphael, Michelangelo, Maarten van Heemskerck and Albrecht Dürer. The number of prints and bound books that James and Catherine were able to purchase for young William suggests that the Blakes enjoyed, at least for a time, a comfortable wealth. When William was ten years old, his parents knew enough of his headstrong temperament that he was not sent to school but instead enrolled in drawing classes at Pars’s drawing school in the Strand. He read avidly on subjects of his own choosing. During this period, Blake made explorations into poetry; his early work displays knowledge of Ben Jonson, Edmund Spenser, and the Psalms.

Apprenticeship to Basire


On 4 August 1772, Blake was apprenticed to engraver James Basire of Great Queen Street, at the sum of £52.10, for a term of seven years. At the end of the term, aged 21, he became a professional engraver. No record survives of any serious disagreement or conflict between the two during the period of Blake’s apprenticeship, but Peter Ackroyd’s biography notes that Blake later added Basire’s name to a list of artistic adversaries – and then crossed it out. This aside, Basire’s style of line-engraving was of a kind held at the time to be old-fashioned compared to the flashier stipple or mezzotint styles. It has been speculated that Blake’s instruction in this outmoded form may have been detrimental to his acquiring of work or recognition in later life.

After two years, Basire sent his apprentice to copy images from the Gothic churches in London (perhaps to settle a quarrel between Blake and James Parker, his fellow apprentice). His experiences in Westminster Abbey helped form his artistic style and ideas. The Abbey of his day was decorated with suits of armour, painted funeral effigies and varicoloured waxworks. Ackroyd notes that “…the most immediate [impression] would have been of faded brightness and colour”. This close study of the Gothic (which he saw as the “living form”) left clear traces in his style. In the long afternoons Blake spent sketching in the Abbey, he was occasionally interrupted by boys from Westminster School, who were allowed in the Abbey. They teased him and one tormented him so much that Blake knocked the boy off a scaffold to the ground, “upon which he fell with terrific Violence”. After Blake complained to the Dean, the schoolboys’ privilege was withdrawn. Blake claimed that he experienced visions in the Abbey. He saw Christ with his Apostles and a great procession of monks and priests, and heard their chant.

The archetype of the Creator is a familiar image in Blake’s work. Here, the demiurgic figure Urizen prays before the world he has forged. The Song of Los is the third in a series of illuminated books painted by Blake and his wife, collectively known as the Continental Prophecies.

Royal Academy

On 8 October 1779, Blake became a student at the Royal Academy in Old Somerset House, near the Strand. While the terms of his study required no payment, he was expected to supply his own materials throughout the six-year period. There, he rebelled against what he regarded as the unfinished style of fashionable painters such as Rubens, championed by the school’s first president, Joshua Reynolds. Over time, Blake came to detest Reynolds’ attitude towards art, especially his pursuit of “general truth” and “general beauty”. Reynolds wrote in his Discourses that the “disposition to abstractions, to generalising and classification, is the great glory of the human mind”; Blake responded, in marginalia to his personal copy, that “To Generalize is to be an Idiot; To Particularize is the Alone Distinction of Merit”. Blake also disliked Reynolds’ apparent humility, which he held to be a form of hypocrisy. Against Reynolds’ fashionable oil painting, Blake preferred the Classical precision of his early influences, Michelangelo and Raphael.

David Bindman suggests that Blake’s antagonism towards Reynolds arose not so much from the president’s opinions (like Blake, Reynolds held history painting to be of greater value than landscape and portraiture), but rather “against his hypocrisy in not putting his ideals into practice.” Certainly Blake was not averse to exhibiting at the Royal Academy, submitting works on six occasions between 1780 and 1808.

Blake became a friend of John Flaxman, Thomas Stothard and George Cumberland during his first year at the Royal Academy. They shared radical views, with Stothard and Cumberland joining the Society for Constitutional Information.

Gordon Riots

Blake’s first biographer, Alexander Gilchrist, records that in June 1780 Blake was walking towards Basire’s shop in Great Queen Street when he was swept up by a rampaging mob that stormed Newgate Prison. The mob attacked the prison gates with shovels and pickaxes, set the building ablaze, and released the prisoners inside. Blake was reportedly in the front rank of the mob during the attack. The riots, in response to a parliamentary bill revoking sanctions against Roman Catholicism, became known as the Gordon Riots and provoked a flurry of legislation from the government of George III, and the creation of the first police force.

Marriage and early career

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing (1786)

Blake met Catherine Boucher in 1782 when he was recovering from a relationship that had culminated in a refusal of his marriage proposal. He recounted the story of his heartbreak for Catherine and her parents, after which he asked Catherine, “Do you pity me?” When she responded affirmatively, he declared, “Then I love you.” Blake married Catherine – who was five years his junior – on 18 August 1782 in St Mary’s Church, Battersea. Illiterate, Catherine signed her wedding contract with an X. The original wedding certificate may be viewed at the church, where a commemorative stained-glass window was installed between 1976 and 1982. Later, in addition to teaching Catherine to read and write, Blake trained her as an engraver. Throughout his life she proved an invaluable aid, helping to print his illuminated works and maintaining his spirits throughout numerous misfortunes.

Blake’s first collection of poems, Poetical Sketches, was printed around 1783. After his father’s death, Blake and former fellow apprentice James Parker opened a print shop in 1784, and began working with radical publisher Joseph Johnson. Johnson’s house was a meeting-place for some leading English intellectual dissidents of the time: theologian and scientist Joseph Priestley, philosopher Richard Price, artist John Henry Fuseli, early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and English revolutionary Thomas Paine. Along with William Wordsworth and William Godwin, Blake had great hopes for the French and American revolutions and wore a Phrygian cap in solidarity with the French revolutionaries, but despaired with the rise of Robespierre and the Reign of Terror in France. In 1784 Blake composed his unfinished manuscript An Island in the Moon.

Blake illustrated Original Stories from Real Life (2nd edition, 1791) by Mary Wollstonecraft. They seem to have shared some views on sexual equality and the institution of marriage, but there is no evidence proving that they met. In 1793’s Visions of the Daughters of Albion, Blake condemned the cruel absurdity of enforced chastity and marriage without love and defended the right of women to complete self-fulfilment.

From 1790 to 1800, William Blake lived in North Lambeth, London, at 13 Hercules Buildings, Hercules Road. The property was demolished in 1918, but the site is now marked with a plaque. There is a series of 70 mosaics commemorating Blake in the nearby railway tunnels of Waterloo Station. The mosaics largely reproduce illustrations from Blake’s illuminated books, The Songs of Innocence and Experience, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and the prophetic books.

Relief etching

In 1788, aged 31, Blake experimented with relief etching, a method he used to produce most of his books, paintings, pamphlets and poems. The process is also referred to as illuminated printing, and the finished products as illuminated books or prints. Illuminated printing involved writing the text of the poems on copper plates with pens and brushes, using an acid-resistant medium. Illustrations could appear alongside words in the manner of earlier illuminated manuscripts. He then etched the plates in acid to dissolve the untreated copper and leave the design standing in relief (hence the name).

This is a reversal of the usual method of etching, where the lines of the design are exposed to the acid, and the plate printed by the intaglio method. Relief etching (which Blake referred to as “stereotype” in The Ghost of Abel) was intended as a means for producing his illuminated books more quickly than via intaglio. Stereotype, a process invented in 1725, consisted of making a metal cast from a wood engraving, but Blake’s innovation was, as described above, very different. The pages printed from these plates were hand-coloured in water colours and stitched together to form a volume. Blake used illuminated printing for most of his well-known works, including Songs of Innocence and of Experience, The Book of Thel, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Jerusalem.

Engravings

Although Blake has become better known for his relief etching, his commercial work largely consisted of intaglio engraving, the standard process of engraving in the 18th century in which the artist incised an image into the copper plate, a complex and laborious process, with plates taking months or years to complete, but as Blake’s contemporary, John Boydell, realised, such engraving offered a “missing link with commerce”, enabling artists to connect with a mass audience and became an immensely important activity by the end of the 18th century.

Europe Supported by Africa and America is an engraving by Blake dating to 1792 held in the collection of the University of Arizona Museum of Art. It depicts three attractive women embracing one another. Black Africa and White Europe hold hands in a gesture of equality as the barren earth blooms beneath their feet. Europe wears a string of pearls while her sisters Africa and America, wearing slave bracelets, are depicted as “contented slaves”. Some scholars have speculated that the bracelets represents the historical fact while the handclasp Stedman’s “ardent wish”: “we only differ in color, but are certainly all created by the same Hand.” Others have said it “expresses the climate of opinion in which the questions of color and slavery were at that time being considered, and which Blake’s writings reflect”. The engraving was for a book written by Blake’s friend John Gabriel Stedman called The Narrative of a Five Years Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796).

Blake employed intaglio engraving in his own work, such as for the illustrations of the Book of Job, completed just before his death. Most critical work has concentrated on Blake’s relief etching as a technique because it is the most innovative aspect of his art, but a 2009 study drew attention to Blake’s surviving plates, including those for the Book of Job: they demonstrate that he made frequent use of a technique known as “repoussage”, a means of obliterating mistakes by hammering them out by hitting the back of the plate. Such techniques, typical of engraving work of the time, are very different to the much faster and fluid way of drawing on a plate that Blake employed for his relief etching, and indicates why the engravings took so long to complete.

Europe Supported by Africa and America (1792) engraving by William Blake

_________________________________________________________________________________

Early Life and career

Blake’s marriage to Catherine was close and devoted until his death. Blake taught Catherine to write, and she helped him colour his printed poems. Gilchrist refers to “stormy times” in the early years of the marriage. Some biographers have suggested that Blake tried to bring a concubine into the marriage bed in accordance with the beliefs of the more radical branches of the Swedenborgian Society, but other scholars have dismissed these theories as conjecture. In his Dictionary, Samuel Foster Damon suggests that Catherine may have had a stillborn daughter for which The Book of Thel is an elegy. That is how he rationalizes the Book’s unusual ending, but notes that he is speculating.

Felpham

In 1800, Blake moved to a cottage at Felpham, in Sussex (now West Sussex), to take up a job illustrating the works of William Hayley, a minor poet. It was in this cottage that Blake began Milton (the title page is dated 1804, but Blake continued to work on it until 1808). The preface to this work includes a poem beginning “And did those feet in ancient time”, which became the words for the anthem “Jerusalem”. Over time, Blake began to resent his new patron, believing that Hayley was uninterested in true artistry, and preoccupied with “the meer drudgery of business”. Blake’s disenchantment with Hayley has been speculated to have influenced Milton: a Poem, in which Blake wrote that “Corporeal Friends are Spiritual Enemies”.

The cottage in Felpham where Blake lived from 1800 until 1803

Return to London

Blake returned to London in 1804 and began to write and illustrate Jerusalem (1804–20), his most ambitious work. Having conceived the idea of portraying the characters in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Blake approached the dealer Robert Cromek, with a view to marketing an engraving. Knowing Blake was too eccentric to produce a popular work, Cromek promptly commissioned Blake’s friend Thomas Stothard to execute the concept. When Blake learned he had been cheated, he broke off contact with Stothard. He set up an independent exhibition in his brother’s haberdashery shop at 27 Broad Street in Soho. The exhibition was designed to market his own version of the Canterbury illustration (titled The Canterbury Pilgrims), along with other works. As a result, he wrote his Descriptive Catalogue (1809), which contains what Anthony Blunt called a “brilliant analysis” of Chaucer and is regularly anthologised as a classic of Chaucer criticism. It also contained detailed explanations of his other paintings. The exhibition was very poorly attended, selling none of the temperas or watercolours. Its only review, in The Examiner, was hostile.

Also around this time (circa 1808), Blake gave vigorous expression of his views on art in an extensive series of polemical annotations to the Discourses of Sir Joshua Reynolds, denouncing the Royal Academy as a fraud and proclaiming, “To Generalize is to be an Idiot”.

‘Skofeld’ wearing “mind forged manacles” in Jerusalem Plate 51

In 1818, he was introduced by George Cumberland’s son to a young artist named John Linnell. A blue plaque commemorates Blake and Linnell at Old Wyldes’ at North End, Hampstead. Through Linnell he met Samuel Palmer, who belonged to a group of artists who called themselves the Shoreham Ancients. The group shared Blake’s rejection of modern trends and his belief in a spiritual and artistic New Age. Aged 65, Blake began work on illustrations for the Book of Job, later admired by Ruskin, who compared Blake favourably to Rembrandt, and by Vaughan Williams, who based his ballet Job: A Masque for Dancing on a selection of the illustrations.

In later life Blake began to sell a great number of his works, particularly his Bible illustrations, to Thomas Butts, a patron who saw Blake more as a friend than a man whose work held artistic merit; this was typical of the opinions held of Blake throughout his life.

Sketch of Blake from circa 1804 by John Flaxman

Dante’s Divine Comedy

The commission for Dante’s Divine Comedy came to Blake in 1826 through Linnell, with the aim of producing a series of engravings. Blake’s death in 1827 cut short the enterprise, and only a handful of watercolours were completed, with only seven of the engravings arriving at proof form. Even so, they have earned praise:

‘[T]he Dante watercolours are among Blake’s richest achievements, engaging fully with the problem of illustrating a poem of this complexity. The mastery of watercolour has reached an even higher level than before, and is used to extraordinary effect in differentiating the atmosphere of the three states of being in the poem’.

Blake’s illustrations of the poem are not merely accompanying works, but rather seem to critically revise, or furnish commentary on, certain spiritual or moral aspects of the text.

Because the project was never completed, Blake’s intent may be obscured. Some indicators bolster the impression that Blake’s illustrations in their totality would take issue with the text they accompany: In the margin of Homer Bearing the Sword and His Companions, Blake notes, “Every thing in Dantes Comedia shews That for Tyrannical Purposes he has made This World the Foundation of All & the Goddess Nature & not the Holy Ghost.” Blake seems to dissent from Dante’s admiration of the poetic works of ancient Greece, and from the apparent glee with which Dante allots punishments in Hell (as evidenced by the grim humour of the cantos).

William Blake’s image of the Minotaur to illustrate Inferno, Canto XII,12–28, The Minotaur XII

 At the same time, Blake shared Dante’s distrust of materialism and the corruptive nature of power, and clearly relished the opportunity to represent the atmosphere and imagery of Dante’s work pictorially. Even as he seemed to be near death, Blake’s central preoccupation was his feverish work on the illustrations to Dante’s Inferno; he is said to have spent one of the very last shillings he possessed on a pencil to continue sketching.

Blake’s The Lovers’ Whirlwind illustrates Hell in Canto V of Dante’s Inferno

Death

Blake’s last years were spent at Fountain Court off the Strand (the property was demolished in the 1880s, when the Savoy Hotel was built). On the day of his death (12 August 1827), Blake worked relentlessly on his Dante series. Eventually, it is reported, he ceased working and turned to his wife, who was in tears by his bedside. Beholding her, Blake is said to have cried, “Stay Kate! Keep just as you are – I will draw your portrait – for you have ever been an angel to me.” Having completed this portrait (now lost), Blake laid down his tools and began to sing hymns and verses. At six that evening, after promising his wife that he would be with her always, Blake died. Gilchrist reports that a female lodger in the house, present at his expiration, said, “I have been at the death, not of a man, but of a blessed angel.”

George Richmond gives the following account of Blake’s death in a letter to Samuel Palmer:

He died … in a most glorious manner. He said He was going to that Country he had all His life wished to see & expressed Himself Happy, hoping for Salvation through Jesus Christ – Just before he died His Countenance became fair. His eyes Brighten’d and he burst out Singing of the things he saw in Heaven.

“Head of William Blake” by James De Ville. Life mask taken in plaster cast in September 1823, Fitzwilliam Museum.

Catherine paid for Blake’s funeral with money lent to her by Linnell. Blake’s body was buried in a plot shared with others, five days after his death – on the eve of his 45th wedding anniversary – at the Dissenter’s burial ground in Bunhill Fields, in what is today the London Borough of Islington. His parents’ bodies were buried in the same graveyard. Present at the ceremonies were Catherine, Edward Calvert, George Richmond, Frederick Tatham and John Linnell. Following Blake’s death, Catherine moved into Tatham’s house as a housekeeper. She believed she was regularly visited by Blake’s spirit. She continued selling his illuminated works and paintings, but entertained no business transaction without first “consulting Mr. Blake”. On the day of her death, in October 1831, she was as calm and cheerful as her husband, and called out to him “as if he were only in the next room, to say she was coming to him, and it would not be long now”.

On her death, longtime acquaintance Frederick Tatham took possession of Blake’s works and continued selling them. Tatham later joined the fundamentalist Irvingite church and under the influence of conservative members of that church burned manuscripts that he deemed heretical. The exact number of destroyed manuscripts is unknown, but shortly before his death Blake told a friend he had written “twenty tragedies as long as Macbeth”, none of which survive. Another acquaintance, William Michael Rossetti, also burned works by Blake that he considered lacking in quality, and John Linnell erased sexual imagery from a number of Blake’s drawings. At the same time, some works not intended for publication were preserved by friends, such as his notebook and An Island in the Moon.

Blake’s grave is commemorated by two stones. The first was a stone that reads “Near by lie the remains of the poet-painter William Blake 1757–1827 and his wife Catherine Sophia 1762–1831”. The memorial stone is situated approximately 20 metres (66 ft) away from the actual grave, which was not marked until 12 August 2018. For years since 1965, the exact location of William Blake’s grave had been lost and forgotten. The area had been damaged in the Second World War; gravestones were removed and a garden was created. The memorial stone, indicating that the burial sites are “nearby”, was listed as a Grade II listed structure in 2011. A Portuguese couple, Carol and Luís Garrido, rediscovered the exact burial location after 14 years of investigatory work, and the Blake Society organised a permanent memorial slab, which was unveiled at a public ceremony at the site on 12 August 2018. The new stone is inscribed “Here lies William Blake 1757–1827 Poet Artist Prophet” above a verse from his poem Jerusalem.

Headstone in Bunhill Fields, London, erected on Blake’s grave in 1927 and moved to its present location in 1964–65
Ledger stone on Blake’s grave, unveiled in 2018

Blake is recognised as a saint in the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. The Blake Prize for Religious Art was established in his honour in Australia in 1949. In 1957 a memorial to Blake and his wife was erected in Westminster Abbey. Another memorial lies in St James’s Church, Piccadilly, where he was baptised.

A memorial to William Blake in St James’s Church, Piccadilly.

At the time of Blake’s death, he had sold fewer than 30 copies of Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

A memorial to William Blake in St James’s Church, Piccadilly.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Politics

Blake was not active in any well-established political party. His poetry consistently embodies an attitude of rebellion against the abuse of class power as documented in David Erdman’s large study Blake: Prophet Against Empire: A Poet’s Interpretation of the History of His Own Times. Blake was concerned about senseless wars and the blighting effects of the Industrial Revolution. Much of his poetry recounts in symbolic allegory the effects of the French and American revolutions. Erdman claims Blake was disillusioned with them, believing they had simply replaced monarchy with irresponsible mercantilism and notes Blake was deeply opposed to slavery, and believes some of his poems read primarily as championing “free love” have had their anti-slavery implications short-changed. A more recent study, William Blake: Visionary Anarchist by Peter Marshall (1988), classified Blake and his contemporary William Godwin as forerunners of modern anarchism. British Marxist historian E. P. Thompson’s last finished work, Witness Against the Beast: William Blake and the Moral Law (1993), shows how far he was inspired by dissident religious ideas rooted in the thinking of the most radical opponents of the monarchy during the English Civil War.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Development of his views

Because Blake’s later poetry contains a private mythology with complex symbolism, his late work has been less published than his earlier more accessible work. The Vintage anthology of Blake edited by Patti Smith focuses heavily on the earlier work, as do many critical studies such as William Blake by D. G. Gillham.

The earlier work is primarily rebellious in character and can be seen as a protest against dogmatic religion especially notable in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in which the figure represented by the “Devil” is virtually a hero rebelling against an imposter authoritarian deity. In later works, such as Milton and Jerusalem, Blake carves a distinctive vision of a humanity redeemed by self-sacrifice and forgiveness, while retaining his earlier negative attitude towards what he felt was the rigid and morbid authoritarianism of traditional religion. Not all readers of Blake agree upon how much continuity exists between Blake’s earlier and later works.

Psychoanalyst June Singer has written that Blake’s late work displayed a development of the ideas first introduced in his earlier works, namely, the humanitarian goal of achieving personal wholeness of body and spirit. The final section of the expanded edition of her Blake study The Unholy Bible suggests the later works are the “Bible of Hell” promised in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Regarding Blake’s final poem, Jerusalem, she writes: “The promise of the divine in man, made in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, is at last fulfilled.”

John Middleton Murry notes discontinuity between Marriage and the late works, in that while the early Blake focused on a “sheer negative opposition between Energy and Reason”, the later Blake emphasised the notions of self-sacrifice and forgiveness as the road to interior wholeness. This renunciation of the sharper dualism of Marriage of Heaven and Hell is evidenced in particular by the humanisation of the character of Urizen in the later works. Murry characterises the later Blake as having found “mutual understanding” and “mutual forgiveness”.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Religious Reviews

Although Blake’s attacks on conventional religion were shocking in his own day, his rejection of religiosity was not a rejection of religion per se. His view of orthodoxy is evident in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Therein, Blake lists several Proverbs of Hell, among which are the following:

  • Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.
  • As the catterpillar [sic] chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys. (8.21, 9.55, E36)

In The Everlasting Gospel, Blake does not present Jesus as a philosopher or traditional messianic figure, but as a supremely creative being, above dogma, logic and even morality:

If he had been Antichrist Creeping Jesus,

He’d have done anything to please us:

Gone sneaking into Synagogues

And not us’d the Elders & Priests like Dogs,

But humble as a Lamb or Ass,

Obey’d himself to Caiaphas.

God wants not Man to Humble himself (55–61, E519–20)

For Blake, Jesus symbolises the vital relationship and unity between divinity and humanity: “All had originally one language, and one religion: this was the religion of Jesus, the everlasting Gospel. Antiquity preaches the Gospel of Jesus.” (Descriptive Catalogue, Plate 39, E543)

Blake’s Ancient of Days. The “Ancient of Days” is described in Chapter 7 of the Book of Daniel. This image depicts Copy D of the illustration currently held at the British Museum.

Blake designed his own mythology, which appears largely in his prophetic books. Within these he describes a number of characters, including “Urizen”, “Enitharmon”, “Bromion” and “Luvah”. His mythology seems to have a basis in the Bible as well as Greek and Norse mythology, and it accompanies his ideas about the everlasting Gospel.

One of Blake’s strongest objections to orthodox Christianity is that he felt it encouraged the suppression of natural desires and discouraged earthly joy. In A Vision of the Last Judgement, Blake says that:

Men are admitted into Heaven not because they have curbed and governd their Passions or have No Passions but because they have Cultivated their Understandings. The Treasures of Heaven are not Negations of Passion but Realities of Intellect from which All the Passions Emanate Uncurbed in their Eternal Glory. (E564)

“I must Create a System, or be enslav’d by another Man’s. I will not Reason & Compare; my business is to Create.”

Words uttered by Los in Blake’s Jerusalem The Emanation of the Giant Albion.

His words concerning religion in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:

All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors.

1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul.

2. That Energy, called Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, called Good, is alone from the Soul.

3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.

But the following Contraries to these are True

1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that calld Body is a portion of Soul discernd by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age.

2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.

3. Energy is Eternal Delight. (Plate 4, E34)

Blake does not subscribe to the notion of a body distinct from the soul that must submit to the rule of the soul, but sees the body as an extension of the soul, derived from the “discernment” of the senses. Thus, the emphasis orthodoxy places upon the denial of bodily urges is a dualistic error born of misapprehension of the relationship between body and soul. Elsewhere, he describes Satan as the “state of error”, and as beyond salvation.

Blake opposed the sophistry of theological thought that excuses pain, admits evil and apologises for injustice. He abhorred self-denial, which he associated with religious repression and particularly sexual repression:

Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity.

He who desires but acts not breeds pestilence. (7.4–5, E35)

He saw the concept of “sin” as a trap to bind men’s desires (the briars of Garden of Love), and believed that restraint in obedience to a moral code imposed from the outside was against the spirit of life:

Abstinence sows sand all over

The ruddy limbs & flaming hair

But Desire Gratified

Plants fruits & beauty there. (E474)

He did not hold with the doctrine of God as Lord, an entity separate from and superior to mankind; this is shown clearly in his words about Jesus Christ: “He is the only God … and so am I, and so are you.” A telling phrase in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is “men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast”.

The Night of Enitharmon’s Joy, 1795; Blake’s vision of Hecate, Greek goddess of black magic and the underworld.
The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve, c. 1825. Watercolour on wood.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Enlightenment philosophy

Blake had a complex relationship with Enlightenment philosophy. His championing of the imagination as the most important element of human existence ran contrary to Enlightenment ideals of rationalism and empiricism. Due to his visionary religious beliefs, he opposed the Newtonian view of the universe. This mindset is reflected in an excerpt from Blake’s Jerusalem:

I turn my eyes to the Schools & Universities of Europe

And there behold the Loom of Locke whose Woof rages dire

Washd by the Water-wheels of Newton. black the cloth

In heavy wreathes folds over every Nation; cruel Works

Of many Wheels I view, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannic

Moving by compulsion each other: not as those in Eden: which

Wheel within Wheel in freedom revolve in harmony & peace. (15.14–20, E159)

Blake’s Newton (1795) demonstrates his opposition to the “single-vision” of scientific materialism: Newton fixes his eye on a compass (recalling Proverbs 8:27, an important passage for Milton) to write upon a scroll that seems to project from his own head.

Blake believed the paintings of Sir Joshua Reynolds, which depict the naturalistic fall of light upon objects, were products entirely of the “vegetative eye”, and he saw Locke and Newton as “the true progenitors of Sir Joshua Reynolds’ aesthetic”. The popular taste in the England of that time for such paintings was satisfied with mezzotints, prints produced by a process that created an image from thousands of tiny dots upon the page. Blake saw an analogy between this and Newton’s particle theory of light. Accordingly, Blake never used the technique, opting rather to develop a method of engraving purely in fluid line, insisting that: a Line or Lineament is not formed by Chance a Line is a Line in its Minutest Subdivision[s] Strait or Crooked It is Itself & Not Intermeasurable with or by any Thing Else Such is Job. (E784)

It has been supposed that, despite his opposition to Enlightenment principles, Blake arrived at a linear aesthetic that was in many ways more similar to the Neoclassical engravings of John Flaxman than to the works of the Romantics, with whom he is often classified. However, Blake’s relationship with Flaxman seems to have grown more distant after Blake’s return from Felpham, and there are surviving letters between Flaxman and Hayley wherein Flaxman speaks ill of Blake’s theories of art. Blake further criticized Flaxman’s styles and theories of art in his responses to criticism made against his print of Chaucer’s Caunterbury Pilgrims in 1810.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Sexuality

19th-century “free love” movement

Since his death, William Blake has been claimed by those of various movements who apply his complex and often elusive use of symbolism and allegory to the issues that concern them. In particular, Blake is sometimes considered (along with Mary Wollstonecraft and her husband William Godwin) a forerunner of the 19th-century “free love” movement, a broad reform tradition starting in the 1820s that held that marriage is slavery, and advocated the removal of all state restrictions on sexual activity such as homosexuality, prostitution, and adultery, culminating in the birth control movement of the early 20th century. Blake scholarship was more focused on this theme in the earlier 20th century than today, although it is still mentioned notably by the Blake scholar Magnus Ankarsjö who moderately challenges this interpretation. The 19th-century “free love” movement was not particularly focused on the idea of multiple partners, but did agree with Wollstonecraft that state-sanctioned marriage was “legal prostitution” and monopolistic in character. It has somewhat more in common with early feminist movements (particularly with regard to the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, whom Blake admired).

Blake was critical of the marriage laws of his day, and generally railed against traditional Christian notions of chastity as a virtue. At a time of tremendous strain in his marriage, in part due to Catherine’s apparent inability to bear children, he directly advocated bringing a second wife into the house. His poetry suggests that external demands for marital fidelity reduce love to mere duty rather than authentic affection, and decries jealousy and egotism as a motive for marriage laws. Poems such as “Why should I be bound to thee, O my lovely Myrtle-tree?” and “Earth’s Answer” seem to advocate multiple sexual partners. In his poem “London” he speaks of “the Marriage-Hearse” plagued by “the youthful Harlot’s curse”, the result alternately of false Prudence and/or Harlotry. Visions of the Daughters of Albion is widely (though not universally) read as a tribute to free love since the relationship between Bromion and Oothoon is held together only by laws and not by love. For Blake, law and love are opposed, and he castigates the “frozen marriage-bed”. In Visions, Blake writes:

Till she who burns with youth, and knows no fixed lot, is bound

In spells of law to one she loathes? and must she drag the chain

Of life in weary lust? (5.21-3, E49)

In the 19th century, poet and free love advocate Algernon Charles Swinburne wrote a book on Blake drawing attention to the above motifs in which Blake praises “sacred natural love” that is not bound by another’s possessive jealousy, the latter characterised by Blake as a “creeping skeleton”. Swinburne notes how Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell condemns the hypocrisy of the “pale religious letchery” of advocates of traditional norms. Another 19th-century free love advocate, Edward Carpenter (1844–1929), was influenced by Blake’s mystical emphasis on energy free from external restrictions.

In the early 20th century, Pierre Berger described how Blake’s views echo Mary Wollstonecraft’s celebration of joyful authentic love rather than love born of duty, the former being the true measure of purity. Irene Langridge notes that “in Blake’s mysterious and unorthodox creed the doctrine of free love was something Blake wanted for the edification of ‘the soul’.” Michael Davis’s 1977 book William Blake a New Kind of Man suggests that Blake thought jealousy separates man from the divine unity, condemning him to a frozen death.

As a theological writer, Blake has a sense of human “fallenness”. S. Foster Damon noted that for Blake the major impediments to a free love society were corrupt human nature, not merely the intolerance of society and the jealousy of men, but the inauthentic hypocritical nature of human communication. Thomas Wright’s 1928 book Life of William Blake (entirely devoted to Blake’s doctrine of free love) notes that Blake thinks marriage should in practice afford the joy of love, but notes that in reality it often does not, as a couple’s knowledge of being chained often diminishes their joy. Pierre Berger also analyses Blake’s early mythological poems such as Ahania as declaring marriage laws to be a consequence of the fallenness of humanity, as these are born from pride and jealousy.

Some scholars have noted that Blake’s views on “free love” are both qualified and may have undergone shifts and modifications in his late years. Some poems from this period warn of dangers of predatory sexuality such as The Sick Rose. Magnus Ankarsjö notes that while the hero of Visions of the Daughters of Albion is a strong advocate of free love, by the end of the poem she has become more circumspect as her awareness of the dark side of sexuality has grown, crying “Can this be love which drinks another as a sponge drinks water?” Ankarsjö also notes that a major inspiration to Blake, Mary Wollstonecraft, similarly developed more circumspect views of sexual freedom late in life. In light of Blake’s aforementioned sense of human ‘fallenness’ Ankarsjö thinks Blake does not fully approve of sensual indulgence merely in defiance of law as exemplified by the female character of Leutha, since in the fallen world of experience all love is enchained. Ankarsjö records Blake as having supported a commune with some sharing of partners, though David Worrall read The Book of Thel as a rejection of the proposal to take concubines espoused by some members of the Swedenborgian church.

Blake’s later writings show a renewed interest in Christianity, and although he radically reinterprets Christian morality in a way that embraces sensual pleasure, there is little of the emphasis on sexual libertarianism found in several of his early poems, and there is advocacy of “self-denial”, though such abnegation must be inspired by love rather than through authoritarian compulsion. Berger (more so than Swinburne) is especially sensitive to a shift in sensibility between the early Blake and the later Blake. Berger believes the young Blake placed too much emphasis on following impulses, and that the older Blake had a better formed ideal of a true love that sacrifices self. Some celebration of mystical sensuality remains in the late poems (most notably in Blake’s denial of the virginity of Jesus’s mother). However, the late poems also place a greater emphasis on forgiveness, redemption, and emotional authenticity as a foundation for relationships.

Blake’s Lot and His Daughters, Huntington Library, c. 1800

_________________________________________________________________________________

Assessment

Creative mindset

Northrop Frye, commenting on Blake’s consistency in strongly held views, notes Blake “himself says that his notes on [Joshua] Reynolds, written at fifty, are ‘exactly Similar’ to those on Locke and Bacon, written when he was ‘very Young’. Even phrases and lines of verse will reappear as much as forty years later. Consistency in maintaining what he believed to be true was itself one of his leading principles … Consistency, then, foolish or otherwise, is one of Blake’s chief preoccupations, just as ‘self-contradiction’ is always one of his most contemptuous comments”.

Blake abhorred slavery and believed in racial and sexual equality. Several of his poems and paintings express a notion of universal humanity: “As all men are alike (tho’ infinitely various)”. In one poem, narrated by a black child, white and black bodies alike are described as shaded groves or clouds, which exist only until one learns “to bear the beams of love”:

When I from black and he from white cloud free,

And round the tent of God like lambs we joy:

Ill shade him from the heat till he can bear,

To lean in joy upon our fathers knee.

And then I’ll stand and stroke his silver hair,

And be like him and he will then love me. (23-8, E9)

Blake retained an active interest in social and political events throughout his life, and social and political statements are often present in his mystical symbolism. His views on what he saw as oppression and restriction of rightful freedom extended to the Church. His spiritual beliefs are evident in Songs of Experience (1794), in which he distinguishes between the Old Testament God, whose restrictions he rejected, and the New Testament God whom he saw as a positive influence.

Blake’s “A Negro Hung Alive by the Ribs to a Gallows”, an illustration to J. G. Stedman’s Narrative, of a Five Years’ Expedition, against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796)

Visions

From a young age, William Blake claimed to have seen visions. The first may have occurred as early as the age of four when, according to one anecdote, the young artist “saw God” when God “put his head to the window”, causing Blake to break into screaming. At the age of eight or ten in Peckham Rye, London, Blake claimed to have seen “a tree filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars.” According to Blake’s Victorian biographer Gilchrist, he returned home and reported the vision and only escaped being thrashed by his father for telling a lie through the intervention of his mother. Though all evidence suggests that his parents were largely supportive, his mother seems to have been especially so, and several of Blake’s early drawings and poems decorated the walls of her chamber. On another occasion, Blake watched haymakers at work, and thought he saw angelic figures walking among them.

Blake claimed to experience visions throughout his life. They were often associated with beautiful religious themes and imagery, and may have inspired him further with spiritual works and pursuits. Certainly, religious concepts and imagery figure centrally in Blake’s works. God and Christianity constituted the intellectual centre of his writings, from which he drew inspiration. Blake believed he was personally instructed and encouraged by Archangels to create his artistic works, which he claimed were actively read and enjoyed by the same Archangels. In a letter of condolence to William Hayley, dated 6 May 1800, four days after the death of Hayley’s son, Blake wrote:

I know that our deceased friends are more really with us than when they were apparent to our mortal part. Thirteen years ago I lost a brother, and with his spirit I converse daily and hourly in the spirit, and see him in my remembrance, in the region of my imagination. I hear his advice, and even now write from his dictate.

The Ghost of a Flea, 1819–1820. Having informed painter-astrologer John Varley of his visions of apparitions, Blake was subsequently persuaded to paint one of them.[120] Varley’s anecdote of Blake and his vision of the flea’s ghost became well-known.

In a letter to John Flaxman, dated 21 September 1800, Blake wrote:

[The town of] Felpham is a sweet place for Study, because it is more spiritual than London. Heaven opens here on all sides her golden Gates; her windows are not obstructed by vapours; voices of Celestial inhabitants are more distinctly heard, & their forms more distinctly seen; & my Cottage is also a Shadow of their houses. My Wife & Sister are both well, courting Neptune for an embrace… I am more famed in Heaven for my works than I could well conceive. In my Brain are studies & Chambers filled with books & pictures of old, which I wrote & painted in ages of Eternity before my mortal life; & those works are the delight & Study of Archangels. (E710)

In a letter to Thomas Butts, dated 25 April 1803, Blake wrote:

Now I may say to you, what perhaps I should not dare to say to anyone else: That I can alone carry on my visionary studies in London unannoy’d, & that I may converse with my friends in Eternity, See Visions, Dream Dreams & prophecy & speak Parables unobserv’d & at liberty from the Doubts of other Mortals; perhaps Doubts proceeding from Kindness, but Doubts are always pernicious, Especially when we Doubt our Friends.

In A Vision of the Last Judgement Blake wrote:

Error is Created Truth is Eternal Error or Creation will be Burned Up & then & not till then Truth or Eternity will appear It is Burnt up the Moment Men cease to behold it I assert for My self that I do not behold the Outward Creation & that to me it is hindrance & not Action it is as the Dirt upon my feet No part of Me. What it will be Questiond When the Sun rises do you not see a round Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight I look thro it & not with it. (E565-6)

Despite seeing angels and God, Blake has also claimed to see Satan on the staircase of his South Molton Street home in London.

Aware of Blake’s visions, William Wordsworth commented, “There was no doubt that this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott.” In a more deferential vein, John William Cousins wrote in A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature that Blake was “a truly pious and loving soul, neglected and misunderstood by the world, but appreciated by an elect few”, who “led a cheerful and contented life of poverty illumined by visions and celestial inspirations”. Blake’s sanity was called into question as recently as the publication of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, whose entry on Blake comments that “the question whether Blake was or was not mad seems likely to remain in dispute, but there can be no doubt whatever that he was at different periods of his life under the influence of illusions for which there are no outward facts to account, and that much of what he wrote is so far wanting in the quality of sanity as to be without a logical coherence”.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Cultural influence

Blake’s work was neglected for a generation after his death and almost forgotten by the time Alexander Gilchrist began work on his biography in the 1860s. The publication of the Life of William Blake rapidly transformed Blake’s reputation, in particular as he was taken up by Pre-Raphaelites and associated figures, in particular Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Algernon Charles Swinburne. In the twentieth century, however, Blake’s work was fully appreciated and his influence increased. Important early and mid twentieth-century scholars involved in enhancing Blake’s standing in literary and artistic circles included S. Foster Damon, Geoffrey Keynes, Northrop Frye, David V. Erdman and G. E. Bentley Jr.

While Blake had a significant role to play in the art and poetry of figures such as Rossetti, it was during the Modernist period that this work began to influence a wider set of writers and artists. William Butler Yeats, who edited an edition of Blake’s collected works in 1893, drew on him for poetic and philosophical ideas, while British surrealist art in particular drew on Blake’s conceptions of non-mimetic, visionary practice in the painting of artists such as Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland. His poetry came into use by a number of British classical composers such as Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams, who set his works. Modern British composer John Tavener set several of Blake’s poems, including The Lamb (as the 1982 work “The Lamb”) and The Tyger.

Many such as June Singer have argued that Blake’s thoughts on human nature greatly anticipate and parallel the thinking of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung. In Jung’s own words: “Blake [is] a tantalizing study, since he compiled a lot of half or undigested knowledge in his fantasies. According to my ideas they are an artistic production rather than an authentic representation of unconscious processes.” Similarly, although less popularly, Diana Hume George claimed that Blake can be seen as a precursor to the ideas of Sigmund Freud.

Blake had an enormous influence on the beat poets of the 1950s and the counterculture of the 1960s, frequently being cited by such seminal figures as beat poet Allen Ginsberg, songwriters Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Van Morrison, and English writer Aldous Huxley. Much of the central conceit of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials is rooted in the world of Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Canadian music composer Kathleen Yearwood is one of many contemporary musicians that have set Blake’s poems to music. After World War II, Blake’s role in popular culture came to the fore in a variety of areas such as popular music, film, and the graphic novel, leading Edward Larrissy to assert that “Blake is the Romantic writer who has exerted the most powerful influence on the twentieth century.”

William Blake’s portrait in profile, by John Linnell. This larger version was painted to be engraved as the frontispiece of Alexander Gilchrist’s Life of Blake (1863).

Source: Wikipedia “William Blake”

Yuri Klapoukh (1963 – )

Yuri Klapoukh was born in 1963. Graduated from the Moscow Institute of painting of V.I.Surikov in 1993. Professionally engaged in painting during 15 years. His favorite themes are Russian landscape, classical portrait and genre scene of the rural life. Took part in many group and personal exhibitions. His paintings are in private collections in the USA, Czechia, Poland, Austria, the Republic of South Africa and Germany.

Source: RussianPaintings.net

Paul Gustave Doré (1832 – 1883)

Photograph taken by Nader

Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré (/dɔːˈreɪ/; French: [ɡys.tav dɔ.ʁe]; 6 January 1832 – 23 January 1883) was a French artist, printmaker, illustrator, comics artist, caricaturist, and sculptor who worked primarily with wood-engraving.

Doré was born in Strasbourg on 6 January 1832. By age 5 he was a prodigy artist, creating drawings that were mature beyond his years. Seven years later, he began carving in stone. At the age of 15, Doré began his career working as a caricaturist for the French paper Le journal pour rire. Wood-engraving was his primary method at this time. In the late 1840s and early 1850s, he made several text comics, like Les Travaux d’Hercule (1847), Trois artistes incompris et mécontents (1851), Les Dés-agréments d’un voyage d’agrément (1851) and L’Histoire de la Sainte Russie (1854). Doré subsequently went on to win commissions to depict scenes from books by Cervantes, Rabelais, Balzac, Milton, and Dante. He also illustrated “Gargantua et Pantagruel” in 1854.

In 1853 Doré was asked to illustrate the works of Lord Byron. This commission was followed by additional work for British publishers, including a new illustrated Bible. In 1856 he produced 12 folio-size illustrations of The Legend of The Wandering Jew, which propagated longstanding antisemitic views of the time, for a short poem which Pierre-Jean de Béranger had derived from a novel of Eugène Sue of 1845.

In the 1860s he illustrated a French edition of Cervantes’s Don Quixote, and his depictions of the knight and his squire, Sancho Panza, have become so famous that they have influenced subsequent readers, artists, and stage and film directors’ ideas of the physical “look” of the two characters. Doré also illustrated an oversized edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”, an endeavor that earned him 30,000 francs from publisher Harper & Brothers in 1883.

Doré’s illustrations for the Bible (1866) were a great success, and in 1867 Doré had a major exhibition of his work in London. This exhibition led to the foundation of the Doré Gallery in Bond Street, London. In 1869, Blanchard Jerrold, the son of Douglas William Jerrold, suggested that they work together to produce a comprehensive portrait of London. Jerrold had obtained the idea from The Microcosm of London produced by Rudolph Ackermann, William Pyne, and Thomas Rowlandson (published in three volumes from 1808 to 1810). Doré signed a five-year contract with the publishers Grant & Co that involved his staying in London for three months a year, and he received the vast sum of £10,000 a year for the project. Doré was mainly celebrated for his paintings in his day. His paintings remain world-renowned, but his woodcuts and engravings, like those he did for Jerrold, are where he excelled as an artist with an individual vision.

The completed book London: A Pilgrimage, with 180 wood-engravings, was published in 1872. It enjoyed commercial and popular success, but the work was disliked by many contemporary critics. Some of these critics were concerned by the fact that Doré appeared to focus on the poverty that existed in parts of London. Doré was accused by The Art Journal of “inventing rather than copying”. The Westminster Review claimed that “Doré gives us sketches in which the commonest, the vulgarest external features are set down”. The book was a financial success, however, and Doré received commissions from other British publishers.

Doré’s later work included illustrations for new editions of Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, The Works of Thomas Hood, and The Divine Comedy. Doré’s work also appeared in the weekly newspaper The Illustrated London News.

Doré never married and, following the death of his father in 1849, he continued to live with his mother, illustrating books until his death in Paris following a short illness. The city’s Père Lachaise Cemetery contains his grave. At the time of his death in 1883, he was working on illustrations for an edition of Shakespeare’s plays. The government of France made him a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 1861.

Tomb of Gustave Dore

Images taken by: Pierre-Yves Beaudouin

Source: Wikipedia

Thomas Stothard (1755 – 1834)

Portrait by John Wood

Thomas Stothard RA (17 August 1755 – 27 April 1834) was an English painter, illustrator and engraver. His son, Robert T. Stothard was a painter (fl.1810): he painted the proclamation outside York Minster of Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne in June 1837.

His Early Life:

Stothard was born in London, the son of a well-to-do innkeeper in Long Acre A delicate child, he was sent at the age of five to a relative in Yorkshire, and attended school at Acomb, and afterwards at Tadcaster and at Ilford, Essex. Showing talent for drawing, he was apprenticed to a draughtsman of patterns for brocaded silks in Spitalfields. In his spare time, he attempted illustrations for the works of his favourite poets. Some of these drawings were praised by James Harrison, the editor of the Novelist’s Magazine. Stothard’s master having died, he resolved to devote himself to art.

Career:

In 1778 Stothard became a student of the Royal Academy, of which he was elected associate in 1792 and full academician in 1794. In 1812 he was appointed librarian to the Academy after serving as assistant for two years. Among his earliest book illustrations are plates engraved for Ossian and for Bell’s Poets. In 1780, he became a regular contributor to the Novelist’s Magazine, for which he produced 148 designs, including his eleven illustrations to The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (by Tobias Smollett) and his graceful subjects from Clarissa and The History of Sir Charles Grandison (both by Samuel Richardson).

From 1786, Thomas Fielding, a friend of Stothard’s and engraver, produced engravings using designs by Stothard, Angelika Kauffmann, and of his own. Arcadian scenes were especially esteemed. Fielding realised these in colour, using copper engraving, and achieved excellent quality. Stothard’s designs had an exceptional aesthetic appeal.

He designed plates for pocket-books, tickets for concerts, illustrations to almanacs, and portraits of popular actors. These are popular with collectors for their grace and distinction. His more important works include illustrations for:

Two sets for Robinson Crusoe, one for the New Magazine and one for Stockdale’s edition

The Pilgrim’s Progress (1788)

Harding’s edition of Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield (1792)

The Rape of the Lock (1798)

The works of Solomon Gessner (1802)

William Cowper’s Poems (1825)

The Decameron

His figure-subjects in Samuel Rogers’s Italy (1830) and Poems (1834) demonstrate that even in old age, his imagination remained fertile and his hand firm.

Art historian Ralph Nicholson Wornum estimated that Stothard’s designs number five thousand and, of these, about three thousand were engraved. His oil pictures are usually small. His colouring is often rich and glowing in the style of Rubens, who Stothard admired. The Vintage, perhaps his most important oil painting, is in the National Gallery. He contributed to John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery, but his best-known painting is the Procession of the Canterbury Pilgrims, in Tate Britain, the engraving from which, begun by Luigi and continued by Niccolo Schiavonetti and finished by James Heath, was immensely popular. The commission for this picture was given to Stothard by Robert Hartley Cromek, and was the cause of a quarrel with his friend William Blake. It was followed by a companion work, the Flitch of Bacon, which was drawn in sepia for the engraver but was never carried out in colour.

In addition to his easel pictures, Stothard decorated the grand staircase of Burghley House, near Stamford in Lincolnshire, with subjects of War, Intemperance, and the Descent of Orpheus in Hell (1799–1803); the library of Colonel Johnes’ mansion of Hafod, in North Wales, with a series of scenes from Froissart and Monstrelet painted in imitation of relief (1810); and the cupola of the upper hall of the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh (later occupied by the Signet Library), with Apollo and the Muses, and figures of poets, orators, etc. (1822). He prepared designs for a frieze and other sculptural decorations for Buckingham Palace, which were not executed, owing to the death of George IV. He also designed a shield presented to the Duke of Wellington by the merchants of London, and executed a series of eight etchings from the various subjects that adorned it.

 

General Washington, Dallas Museum of Art – Art by Thomas Stothard
Thomas Stothard, The Pilgrimage to Canterbury (1806–07, Tate Britain)
After Thomas Stothard, The Pilgrimage to Canterbury, engraved by Luigi Schiavonetti & James Heath (1809–17, Tate Britain)

Personal Life:

Stothard married Rebecca Watkins in 1783. They had eleven children, of whom six – five sons and one daughter – survived infancy. They lived in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, until 1794, when they moved to a house at 28 Newman Street, Fitzrovia of which Stothard had bought the freehold. His wife died in 1825. His sons included Thomas, accidentally shot dead in about 1801; the antiquarian illustrator Charles Alfred Stothard, who also predeceased his father; and Alfred Joseph Stothard, medallist to George IV.

Stothard died on 27 April 1834, and was buried in Bunhill Fields burial ground.

In Literature:

Stothard’s painting of Erato (one of the Muses) is given a poetical illustration by Letitia Elizabeth Landon in her “Poetical Catalogue of Pictures”, in the Literary Gazette (1823). Another of his paintings, The Fairy Queen Sleeping, is poetically examined in a similar fashion in her “Poetical Sketches of Modern Pictures” in The Troubadour (1826).

Source: Wikipedia

Henry Fuseli (1741 – 1825)

Henry Fuseli RA (/ˈfjuːzəli, fjuːˈzɛli/ FEW-zə-lee, few-ZEL-ee; German: Johann Heinrich Füssli [ˈfyːsli]; 7 February 1741 – 17 April 1825) was a Swiss painter, draughtsman and writer on art who spent much of his life in Britain. Many of his works, such as The Nightmare, deal with supernatural subject-matter. He painted works for John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery, and created his own “Milton Gallery”. He held the posts of Professor of Painting and Keeper at the Royal Academy. His style had a considerable influence on many younger British artists, including William Blake.

Biography

Fuseli was born in Zürich, Switzerland, the second of 18 children. His father was Johann Caspar Füssli, a painter of portraits and landscapes, and author of Lives of the Helvetic Painters. He intended Henry for the church, and sent him to the Caroline college of Zurich, where he received an excellent classical education. One of his schoolmates there was Johann Kaspar Lavater, with whom he became close friends.

After taking orders in 1761 Fuseli was forced to leave the country as a result of having helped Lavater to expose an unjust magistrate, whose powerful family sought revenge. He travelled through Germany, and then, in 1765, visited England, where he supported himself for some time by miscellaneous writing. Eventually, he became acquainted with Sir Joshua Reynolds, to whom he showed his drawings. Following Reynolds’ advice, he decided to devote himself entirely to art. In 1770 he made an art-pilgrimage to Italy, where he remained until 1778, changing his name from Füssli to the more Italian-sounding Fuseli.

Early in 1779 he returned to Britain, taking in Zürich on his way. In London he found a commission awaiting him from Alderman Boydell, who was then setting up his Shakespeare Gallery. Fuseli painted a number of pieces for Boydell, and published an English edition of Lavater’s work on physiognomy. He also gave William Cowper some valuable assistance in preparing a translation of Homer. In 1788 Fuseli married Sophia Rawlins (originally one of his models), and he soon after became an associate of the Royal Academy. The early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, whose portrait he had painted, planned a trip with him to Paris, and pursued him determinedly, but after Sophia’s intervention the Fuselis’ door was closed to her forever. Fuseli later said “I hate clever women. They are only troublesome”. In 1790 he became a full Academician, presenting Thor Battering the Midgard Serpent as his diploma work. In 1799 Fuseli was appointed professor of painting to the Academy. Four years later he was chosen as Keeper, and resigned his professorship, but resumed it in 1810, continuing to hold both offices until his death. As Keeper, he was succeeded by Henry Thomson.

In 1799 Fuseli exhibited a series of paintings from subjects furnished by the works of John Milton, with a view to forming a Milton gallery comparable to Boydell’s Shakespeare gallery. There were 47 Milton paintings, many of them very large, completed at intervals over nine years. The exhibition proved a commercial failure and closed in 1800. In 1805 he brought out an edition of Pilkington’s Lives of the Painters, which did little for his reputation.

Antonio Canova, when on his visit to England, was much taken with Fuseli’s works, and on returning to Rome in 1817 caused him to be elected a member of the first class in the Academy of St Luke.

Thor Battering the Midgard Serpent is a 1790 painting by the Swiss artist Henry Fuseli. It depicts one of the most popular myths in Germanic mythology, Thor’s fishing trip, which was known to Fuseli through P. H. Mallet’s 1755 book Introduction à l’histoire du Dannemarc, translated to English by Thomas Percy in 1770 as Northern Antiquities. The nude and muscular Thor stands in Hymir’s boat with the Jörmungandr on his fish hook. In the top left corner, the god Odin appears as an old man.

Works

As a painter, Fuseli favoured the supernatural. He pitched everything on an ideal scale, believing a certain amount of exaggeration necessary in the higher branches of historical painting. In this theory he was confirmed by the study of Michelangelo’s works and the marble statues of the Monte Cavallo,  which, when at Rome, he liked to contemplate in the evening, relieved against a murky sky or illuminated by lightning.

Describing his style, the 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica said that:

His figures are full of life and earnestness, and seem to have an object in view which they follow with intensity. Like Rubens he excelled in the art of setting his figures in motion. Though the lofty and terrible was his proper sphere, Fuseli had a fine perception of the ludicrous. The grotesque humour of his fairy scenes, especially those taken from A Midsummer-Night’s Dream, is in its way not less remarkable than the poetic power of his more ambitious works.

Though not noted as a colourist, Fuseli was described as a master of light and shadow. Rather than setting out his palette methodically in the manner of most painters, he merely distributed the colours across it randomly. He often used his pigments in the form of a dry powder, which he hastily combined on the end of his brush with oil, or turpentine, or gold size, regardless of the quantity, and depending on accident for the general effect. This recklessness may perhaps be explained by the fact that he did not paint in oil until the age of 25.

Fuseli painted more than 200 pictures, but he exhibited only a small number of them. His earliest painting represented “Joseph interpreting the Dreams of the Baker and Butler”; the first to excite particular attention was The Nightmare, exhibited in 1782. He painted two versions, shown in the Nightmare article. Themes seen in The Nightmare such as horror, dark magic and sexuality, were echoed in his 1796 painting, Night-Hag visiting the Lapland Witches.

His sketches or designs numbered about 800; they have admirable qualities of invention and design, and are frequently superior to his paintings. In his drawings, as in his paintings, his method included deliberately exaggerating the proportions of the human body and throwing his figures into contorted attitudes. One technique involved setting down arbitrary points on a sheet, which then became the extreme points of the various limbs. Notable examples of these drawings were made in concert with George Richmond when the two artists were together in Rome. He rarely drew the figure from life, basing his art on study of the antique and Michelangelo.

He produced no landscapes—”Damn Nature! she always puts me out,” was his characteristic exclamation—and painted only two portraits. However, similar to contemporary landscape painters such as J.M.W. Turner. he evoked qualities of terror and the sublime.

Many interesting anecdotes of Fuseli, and his relations to contemporary artists, are given in his Life by John Knowles (1831). He influenced the art of Fortunato Duranti.

The Nightmare is a 1781 oil painting by Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli. It shows a woman in deep sleep with her arms thrown below her, and with a demonic and apelike incubus crouched on her chest.

Writings

In 1788 Fuseli started to write essays and reviews for the Analytical Review. With Thomas Paine, William Godwin, Joseph Priestley, Erasmus Darwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, and others interested in art, literature and politics, Fuseli frequented the home of Joseph Johnson, a publisher and prominent figure in radical British political and intellectual life. He also visited Allerton Hall in Liverpool, the home of William Roscoe.

When Louis XVI was executed in France in 1793, Fuseli condemned the revolution as despotic and anarchic, although he had first welcomed it as a sign of “an age pregnant with the most gigantic efforts of character”.

He was a thorough master of French, Italian, English and German, and could write in all these languages with equal facility and vigour, although he preferred German as the vehicle of his thoughts. His principal work was his series of twelve lectures delivered to the Royal Academy, begun in 1801.

Henry Fuseli (aged 63) by Edward Hodges Baily, 1824, National Gallery, London

Influence His pupils included John Constable, Benjamin Haydon, William Etty, and Edwin Landseer. William Blake, who was 16 years his junior, recognized a debt to him, and for a time many English artists copied his mannerisms.His pupils included John Constable, Benjamin Haydon, William Etty, and Edwin Landseer. William Blake, who was 16 years his junior, recognized a debt to him, and for a time many English artists copied his mannerisms.

Death 

After a life of uninterrupted good health he died at the house of the Countess of Guildford on Putney Hill, at the age of 84, and was buried in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral. He was comparatively wealthy at the time of his death.

Source: Wikipedia

Fountain of the Fallen Angel – Ricardo Bellver

The Fuente del Ángel Caído (Fountain of the Fallen Angel or Monument of the Fallen Angel) is a fountain located in the Buen Retiro Park in Madrid, Spain.

The statue that crowns the monument is the masterpiece of Ricardo Bellver who realized it in plaster in 1877 while a 3rd year pensioner in Rome, inspired by verses from Paradise Lost of John Milton(Canto I). He submitted it to the 1877 edition of the Exposiciones Nacionales de Bellas Artes where it received the first prize. The state acquired the work and presented it to the 1878 Exposition Universelle. Since only works in marble and bronze were accepted, the statue was cast in bronze at this occasion and the plaster original destroyed.

The statue returned to Spain in what was then the Museo Nacional de Pintura y Escultura (also known as the Museo de la Trinidad, now part of the Museo del Prado). The director of the museum, Benito Soriano Murillo, proposed its relocation in the open space so that the public could freely enjoy this peculiar and unusual creation. The statue was passed to the city hall that placed it on the spot of its present location which was formerly occupied by the Real Fábrica de Porcelanas de la China before its destruction during the French invasion in 1813, at the intersection of the paseo de Cuba, the paseo de Uruguay and the paseo del Duque de Fernán Nuñez in the Retiro park. The duque de Fernán Nuñez (probably Manuel Falcó y d´Adda y Valcárcel, the husband of the III Duquesa de Fernán Núñez) sponsored the monument. The architect Francisco Jareño was charged to design the pedestal, that is octagonal with figures of devils on each side gripping fishes, lizards and snakes, and placed at the center of a fountain of 10 meters diameter, itself surrounded by a parterre. The inauguration was made by the Queen consort of Spain Maria Christina of Austria in 1885. The monument is 7 meters high (the statue itself is 2.65 meters) and lies at the center of a roundabout named after the statue, that also gives its name to an entrance of the park.

While the work, turned over by a student[clarification needed], initially received its share of criticisms[vague], it was mainly highly received by the critics and is now an attraction of the Spanish capital. It is renowned for its dramatic appeal, the tension in the expression and its ambiguity in treating a polemical subject that caused turmoil regarding its possible interpretation as a satanic tribute. It has the reputation to be the only prominent sculpture dedicated to the devil. It is, however, correct that it happens to stand at 666 meters above sea level. There is a polyester resin replica of Bellver’s work at the Museum of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid where details can be better appreciated.

Source: Wikipedia

Christians believing that Noah’s Ark is real

Is there really any proof the ark actually existing or is it just some kids fairytale story? There is no exact proof of the ark existing. In the many years this world has existed, it has never been found so obviously the ark has never really existed. Some want to claim that it was found, a team of evangelical Christian explorers claim to say that they have found the ark. When I saw this picture, I was thinking that it didn’t really look like anything at all.

 I mean if it was really found, wouldn’t there be actual proof of it existing?

I guess that is something that you will have to decide for yourself if it is actually real or not.

If you want to believe in a silly fairytale then that is your choice.

-Luciferi Baphomet 

Morning Star (Lucifer) – Paul Fryer

The Holy Trinity Church in Marylebone, Westminster, built specifically to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon, hasn’t been used as a place of worship since the 30’s, but that didn’t stop artist Paul Fryer from making a religious statement by hanging this terrifying statue of Satan inside.

The piece, titled “Lucifer (Morningstar)” is a wax sculpture depicting the devil snared in a set of power lines. The statue is equal parts grotesque and beautiful, showing Lucifer as an oily, black creature with immense white wings (created from real feathers). Even creepier in the fact that it’s lit via the church’s stained glass windows, an ironic juxtaposition that won’t be lost on many.

Feyer hasn’t come out and said exactly what kind of statement he was trying to make at the Holy Trinity Church, but his certainly wasn’t the first. Earlier in 2008, the building (which is now being considered as a shopping center) hosted an art display that featured a crucified ape as the centerpiece.

The Violin Sonata in G minor – L. Boilly

The Violin Sonata in G minor, B.g5, more familiarly known as the Devil’s Trill Sonata (Italian: Il trillo del diavolo), is a work for solo violin (with figured bassaccompaniment) by Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770). It is the composer’s best-known composition, notable for its technically difficult passages. A typical performance lasts 15 minutes.

Tartini allegedly told the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande that he had dreamed that the devil had appeared to him and had asked to be Tartini’s servant and teacher. At the end of the music lesson, Tartini handed the devil his violin to test his skill, which the devil began to play with virtuosity; delivering an intense and magnificent performance. So singularly beautiful and executed with such superior taste and precision, that the composer felt his breath taken away. The complete story is told by Tartini himself in Lalande’s Voyage d’un François en Italie:

One night, in the year 1713 I dreamed I had made a pact with the devil for my soul. Everything went as I wished: my new servant anticipated my every desire. Among other things, I gave him my violin to see if he could play. How great was my astonishment on hearing a sonata so wonderful and so beautiful, played with such great art and intelligence, as I had never even conceived in my boldest flights of fantasy. I felt enraptured, transported, enchanted: my breath failed me, and I awoke. I immediately grasped my violin in order to retain, in part at least, the impression of my dream. In vain! The music which I at this time composed is indeed the best that I ever wrote, and I still call it the “Devil’s Trill”, but the difference between it and that which so moved me is so great that I would have destroyed my instrument and have said farewell to music forever if it had been possible for me to live without the enjoyment it affords me.

Source: Wikipedia

Satan Presiding at the Infernal Council – John Martin

British artist John Martin created between 1823 and 1827 to illustrate a new edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost. It was described by in The Guardian in 2011 as “Satan holding court in what looks like a solo performance in the Albert Hall (decades in advance)”. Popular success of John Martin’s religious paintings, particularly Belshazzar’s Feast (first exhibited at the British Institution in 1821, and published as engravings in 1826), led to a commission in 1823 from London publisher Septimus Prowett for Martin to illustrate a new edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Martin made mezzotint engravings of 24 subjects in two sizes, 48 plates in all, with large prints measuring 8 by 11 inches (20 cm × 28 cm) and small prints 6 by 8 inches (15 cm × 20 cm).

John Martin, Belshazzar’s Feast, c.1821

The engraving of Satan Presiding at the Infernal Council illustrates the debate among Satan’s “Stygian Council” in the council-chamber of Pandæmonium at the beginning of Book II of Paradise Lost. In the engraving, Satan is depicted enthroned at the heart of the hall of his Palace of Pandæmonium, at the centre of a rotunda filled with onlooking throngs of fallen angels, illuminated by the new technology of gaslight. His throne is placed atop a black hemisphere. The composition may be inspired by an illustration in the 1782 edition of William Beckford’s novel Vathek.

The prints were published by subscription from 1825 to 1827, with two prints and accompanying text published each month, to be bound together by the subscriber. The engravings were also available to buy separately as sets or single prints. The book and the engravings were considerable critical and commercial success, with Martin’s original compositions praised for their invention and power. Martin was encouraged to start work on engraved illustrations of the Bible, and published a further large format print of Satan Presiding at the Infernal Council in 1831, measuring 24 by 32 inches (61 cm × 81 cm). According to musicologist Edward Lockspeiser, this engraving had a singular effect and a lasting influence on the composer Hector Berlioz.

The bold iconography and design of Martin’s engravings were inspirations for scenes in D. W. Griffith’s films Birth of a Nation and Intolerance, for the design of the Galactic Senate in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace].

Source: Wikipedia

Lilith – John Collier

Lilith is an 1887 painting by English artist John Collier, who worked in the style of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The painting of the Jewish mythological figure, Lilith, is held in the Atkinson Art Gallery in Southport, England.

The Fall of the Rebel Angels – John Martin

Lucifer and his fellow angels are cast out of Heaven, falling into a deep chasm with sheer rock walls textured by what appears to be tree roots. The chasm is illuminated by light from the opening through which the angels fall, but it is otherwise in deep shadow. The angels grasp their spears and shields as they plummet into the seemingly bottomless pit, simultaneously stuck by falling stones.

John Milton’s Paradise Lost (published for Septimus Prowett in 1827 and for Charles Tilt in 1833)

Thor Battering the Midgard Serpent – Henry Fuseli

Thor Battering the Midgard Serpent is a 1790 painting by the Swiss artist Henry Fuseli. It depicts one of the most popular myths in Germanic mythology, Thor’s fishing trip, which was known to Fuseli through P. H. Mallet’s 1755 book Introduction à l’histoire du Dannemarc, translated to English by Thomas Percy in 1770 as Northern Antiquities. The nude and muscular Thor stands in Hymir’s boat with the Jörmungandr on his fish hook.

The painting was Fuseli’s diploma work for his election to the British Royal Academy of Arts in 1790. The subject has been interpreted in relation to Fuseli’s support for the French Revolution, where the serpent could represent the Ancien Régime.

Source: Wikipedia

The Fall of the Titans – Cornelis van Haarlem

The Fall of the Titans is an oil painting of the Titanomachy by the Dutch painter Cornelis van Haarlem in 1588–1590. It measures 239 × 307 cm (94 × 121 in). The work is in the collection of the Statens Museum (the national art gallery) in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is an ambitious work of the Haarlem Mannerists, and a display of the artist’s ability to devise and depict a large number of varied poses for the male nudes.

In Greek mythology, the Titans were members of the second generation of divine beings, descending from the primordial deities and preceding the Olympians. Based on Mount Othrys, the Titans most famously included the first twelve children of Gaia (Mother Earth) and Uranus (Father Sky). They ruled during the legendary Golden Age, and also comprised the first pantheon of Greek deities.

Just as the Titan Cronus overthrew his father Uranus, the Titans were overthrown by Cronus’s children (Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Hera and Demeter), the core Olympian deities, in the Titanomachy (or “War of the Titans”), at the end of which they were imprisoned in Tartarus, a Greek version of Hell. Their arrival there is depicted in the painting.

The painting was bought by King Christian IV of Denmark in 1621, and followed most of the royal collection into public ownership in the Statens Museum in the 19th century.

Source: Wikipedia

Minos, Judge of the Damned – Gustave Doré

In Greek mythology, Minos (/ˈmaɪnɒs, -nəs/; Greek: Μίνως, Minōs) was the first King of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. Every nine years, he made King Aegeus pick seven young boys and seven young girls to be sent to Daedalus’s creation, the labyrinth, to be eaten by the Minotaur. After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in the underworld.

The Lament for Icarus – Herbert James Draper

The Lament for Icarus is a painting by Herbert James Draper, showing the dead Icarus, surrounded by lamenting nymphs. The wings of Icarus are based on the bird-of-paradise pattern. In 1898, the painting was bought from the Royal Academy exhibition through The Chantrey Bequest, a public fund for purchasing modern art bequeathed by Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey, R.A.. The Lament for Icarus was subsequently awarded the gold medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris.

According to Dr. Justine Hopkins, Draper identifies Icarus “with the other heroes of the Pre-Raphaelites and symbolists, who, like James Dean half a century later, manage to live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse”. (The last half of that comment is based on a line in the 1947 novel Knock on Any Door by Willard Motley and its film adaptation.)

 The composition:

Draper’s preparatory sketch of Icarus

In 1890s Draper was focused mainly on ancient Greek mythological subjects. Frederic Leighton had depicted Icarus in 1869, but while Leighton showed the preparations for the flight, Draper depicted the tragic ending of the flight. For the composition Draper adopted Leighton’s method of depicting separate figures, for which he employed four young professional models (Ethel Gurden, Ethel Warwick, Florence Bird and Luigi di Luca).

The use of the male body as a vehicle for the projection of subjective emotion, as in The Lament for Icarus, is a feature of late-Victorian painting and sculpture, and in The Lament for Icarus the body appears to melt within the arms of one nymph. Draper applied liquid light effects without abandoning form and used mainly warm colours. The tanned skin of Icarus refers to his close approach to the Sun before falling down. The rays of the setting sun on distant cliffs emphasize the transience of time. Moralizing, sentimental and sensual, The Lament for Icarus ultimately became a well-composed image of epic failure. However, somewhat surprising, Icarus has his wings fully intact, contrary to the myth where the wax melted and Icarus fell flapping his bare arms. The image of a “winged creature” is likely utilized to create a more symbolic, romantic and elegant appearance.

What’s the point of God’s plans?

Does god really have plans for everyone? If he did have plans for those then why are those people suffering? Many Christians say god has plan for you that will lead you through the steps through life and through eternity after you die. If he did have a plan then why would he let people get cancer, diseases, and viruses? What kind of god would let his people get sick. Also, they say god has a purpose for us in life. If he did then why does he let bad things happen to them? Why does he let them get raped, tortured, hit, beaten up till they have bruises all over themselves, starve to death, and etc.

For example, if Christians say that Satan “Burns people in hell” then why does god let that happen? If he cared enough he wouldn’t want that to happen to his people. So god doesn’t really care for his people. In general, if he cared he would have been watching out for his people but instead he watches people suffer while he just sits there doing nothing. In reality, Lucifer DOES NOT burn people, he doesn’t throw people in a pit of fire. That is all lies from the holy bible. It is only said to make them fear Lucifer; so they can stay with god.

-Luciferi Baphomet