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William Blake Background Essay, Research Paper

Family History

Life SpanHome TownParentsSiblings

Blake lived from November 28, 1757 to August 1827.

London, England (Soho)James Blake- Commercial Hosier, who was poor his entire life.

Catherine Blake- a housewife.

1. James

2. Child died at birth

3. William

4. John

5. Richard- died as infant

6. Catherine

7. Robert

Education

Childhood1768-17721772-17791779-1784

An unruly child. Parents didn’t want him sent to school. Mother taught him to read and write.Artistic ability recognized. Sent to Henry Pars’ School of Drawing in the Strand.Apprenticed to James Bashire to learn the art of engraving with an emphasis on copper engraving.Enrolled as a student at the Royal Academy of Art. Focused mainly on historical painting.

Personal Life

MarriageReligionPolitical ViewsPertinent Info.

Married Catherine Boucher on August 18, 1782. A loving marriage, but they never had children. Blake was a person who did not believe in having one set religion. Although he was primarily Christian he refused to choose one sect. Blake hated all forms of war and strict political powers. He supported the French Revolution, but not its violent effects and continued to be a radical sympathizer after its outbreak in 1789.Blake was a visionary. He believed he could see and talk to he dead brother Robert. He saw angels and even the face of God in his visions. These visions were often inspirations for his works.

Poetic Career

Major Poetic WorksMinor Poetic Works

1. Songs of Innocence

2. Songs of Experience3. Poetic Sketches

4. The land of dreams

5. The Book of Thel

6. Visions of the Daughters of Albion

7. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

8. America: A Prophecy

9. Europe: A Prophecy

10. The Book of Urinzen

11. The Song of Los

12. The Book of Ahania

Influences

James BarryHenry FuseliWilliam HayleyJohn Hamilton Mortimer

James Barry was an Irish Artist who became a professor of painting at the Royal Academy of Art. Influenced and inspired Blake to paint historical paintings. Also, Barry was willing to be poor in order to be a great artist. Politics of the time however kept Barry out of the spotlight. These two factors influenced Blake to see past pop culture and so called authorities and to remain loyal to art regardless of “social” failure.A close friend of Blake who influenced his painting and engraving. The two fed off each other’s ideas. Fuseli introduced Blake to several people in order to get his art and poetry published. The two were also friends because of their love of philosophical discussion. The two had a major fight that did not seem to end. They disagreed on the origin of Art. Blake believed it had strong ties to religion while Fuseli thought the two to be separate. Another friend and supporter of Blake. Convince Blake to move out of London. He set up many engraving jobs for Blake and Blake, a poor man, considered this a blessing. Hayley introduced Blake to such authors as Milton and Homer and also showed Blake’s work to art collectors and publishers. Mortimer died the year that Blake enrolled at the Royal Academy. Mortimer was a young and successful Historical Painter. He painted many characters from classical stories, perhaps the most famous being, Death on a Pale Horse, from the Apocalypse. Blake admired Mortimer’s style and unique approach. Mortimer also proved to Blake that one could make a living as a painter with such a classical style of painting interpreted in a radical way. Blake, however, soon discovered that he could not make a decent living as a rebellious historical painter.

Influences Continued

James BasireAlbert Durer

William Blake was Apprenticed to Blake in 1772 for seven years. Though Basire was merely a commercial engraver, he had a depth of knowledge and a rather perfect technique for engraving. He taught Blake the importance of having a sound and thorough knowledge of line engraving. Blake’s style of clarity and exactness combined with his “sinuous flowing line” are a direct result of his training with Basire. Albert Durer was a classic Grecian engraver who lived in the early 1500’s. He created three engraved masterpieces (” Melancholy”, “Saint Jerome in his study “, The Knight, Death and the Devil”) which drew Blake to him. Blake loved Durer’s classic Grecian style and its darkness. He also looked up to him as an artist because of the spiritual aspects of his engravings.


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