THE ANCIENT OF DAYS ( Ilustration by William Blake for his poetic work "Europe", 1794) ; Relief etching with watercolor, 23.3
x 16.8 cm; British Museum, London
Both poet and artist, Blake ilustrated his own poetic work. He also labored to create his own cosmology and mythology, based upon his readings of the Bible, the teachings of Swedenborg, and his own besetting visions. According to his early biographer,Gilchrist, Blake had his first vision at the age of eight or ten of " a tree filled with angels". This ilustration suggests a gnostic approch to the Creator as a lesser, fallible God. For Blake creation signalled a fall from the heaveanly state, followed by a redemption through the powers of the imagination. Blake's influence was of immensurable importance to the later Pre-Raphaelites and Symbolist movement.
-Sean Konecky in Symbolism and Visionary Art ( Art and Symbols of the Occult by James Wasserman, Tger Books International PLC, London, 1993)
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