An artist whose designs and drawings are breathtaking in their magnificent conception; a poet whose lyrical sweetness and purity is unequaled by any other we’ve ever known: that is William Blake as we know him. He was a complete artist who sang his poems to his own settings, printed and engraved his own works, bound and published them; a brave man struggling against poverty and neglect; with all these you have a picture of the finest and rarest figure that has graced the art and literary world.
William Blake was a genius in the world of art and poetry. He became a recognized artist at the age of ten and a poet at the age of twelve; his vivid imagination crowded his life with visions as real as could be and illuminated the way for his talent. He was a man who saw visions and turned them into works of art; that he understood the true significance and value of his work is clear from his attitude towards them. When late in life, he was drawing the Spiritual Portraits, he said: “You can see what I do if u chooses. Work up your imagination to the point of vision and it is done.”
William Blake was the third child of James Blake, a hosier in London in the 17th century. James Blake was a revolutionist and his religious theories coloured William’s early knowledge. Due to his parents’ belief that he will be ridiculed by narrow minded and impatient teachers because of his special gifts, they decided not to send him to school and home trained him; this further enhanced his imagination to imitative conformation.This unusual upbringing and his parents’ role really went a long way inshaping his career.
He was sent to an art school to finesse his craft and later learnt under a highly respected instructor of his time, James Basire who was an engaver. Under Basire’s tutelage he learnt a respect for strict form and severe outline in drawing and discovered a discipline on his art which was lacking in his writing. Although his work often lean towards Gothic arts because of his upbringing and Blake’s apprenticeship, he was an highly respected artist. He lived his life fully, fell in love and married and was fulfilled in his work.
Thus, a little more than a century ago, died William Blake, designer, poet, mystic. And since his death the number of people who knew his work had increased until today we know and proclaim him as one of the greatest minds that the world has produced.