Thursday, September 8, 2016

William Blake the graphic designer

what you see above belongs in the illuminated manuscript tradition. problem is that blake does this in the modern era when moveable printing rules.  why is he doing it? blake was influenced by the engravings (he studied) of the works of michelangelo and raphael.

in his painting, as in his poetry, blake seemed (to most of his contemporaries) to be completely out of the mainstream.  

he became deeply impressed with the work of such contemporary figurative painters as james barry, john mortimer, and henry fuseli, who, like blake, preferred to depict dramatically posed nude figures with strong linear contours. in fact, fuseli's extravagant pictorial fantasies freed blake to distort his figures and seek to express his inner vision.

Fuseli's The Nightmare, 1781
for example, his take on dante's divine comedy.

blake is trying a greek style, which later would be so popular for pre-raphaelites and french artists of the 19th century beaux arts school, like puvis de chavannes

and paul de la roche