So I’m on sabbatical this year starting here in the fall. Something I’ve never had in my 15 years of teaching full time. One of the projects I’ve given myself is to read about an artist I find curious every month. For the month of July it has been William Blake.
I was introduced to Blake my senior year of college when I took a class on the Old Testament book of Job. He amazed me with his vision, emotion, and passion expressed in his images. His images in my eyes were a profound integration of this life and the next.
Here are just some of the things I learned about him:
• When his brother died he saw him clapping with joy as he floated through the ceiling to heaven.
• His marriage was quite unhappy at first, but as time went on they became especially devoted and in love with one another (his wife would often watercolor his etchings for him). The last drawing he was to do on his deathbed was a sketch of his lovely wife.
• Was influenced greatly by Gothic and Medieval cathedrals (Westminster in particular), Raphael, and Michelangelo (although he never saw their work in person, only in prints).
• Saw a variety of visions in his life, including a fairy funeral.
• Never went to church, although was for all intent and purposes as far as I can tell a devoted Christian.