Go Break a Leg, William Blake

Some things just require maturity to be appreciated.

I didn’t like beer the first time I tried it.  Now I’m kind of okay with it.  I wasn’t a fan of Kubrick movies, but now I think he was a genius.  Growing up, I hated manual labor.  Now, it’s a nice break from using my brain.

Some things require maturity to be appreciated, but the art of William Blake is not one of those things.

I hate William Blake.  And I have some very good reasons.

First off, his colors are just plain ugly.  Secondly, his figures are stiff and awkward.

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William Blake, The Examination of Hiob, 1826

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William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, 1789

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William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, 1789

Also, his sense of composition stinks on ice.  But the foremost reason for my venom is that he’s illustrated some of my favorite books of all time.

Me, in a bookstore:

“Oh wow, this is a great book,” I said, opening the book. “Oh no, these illustrations are by William Blake,” I said, lighting the bookstore on fire.

Paradise Lost; an epic poem that spans the heights of Heaven and the depths of Hell.  Milton makes up for being blind by being bloody brilliant.  A book like this deserves illustrations by a master.  And guess who has done illustrations for Paradise Lost?

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William Blake, Paradise Lost, 1795

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William Blake, Paradise Lost, 1795

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William Blake, Paradise Lost, 1795

That’s right.  William Blake.  Compare this with just one of the engravings by Gustave Doré:

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Gustave Doré, Paradise Lost, 1866

Pilgrim’s Progress; a sweeping story of redemption and the Christian journey through many dangers, toils and snares.  You know who we need to draw the pictures for this?

Not William Blake.  But he did it anyway.

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William Blake, Pilgrim’s Progress, c. 1824

Eat your heart out, John Bunyan.  Fortunately, we have Oliver Hunkin’s awesome picture-book adaptation, Dangerous Journey (1985), to cleanse our palates- I’ll post more of these in the near future:

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Oliver Hunkin, Dangerous Journey, 1985

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Oliver Hunkin, Dangerous Journey, 1985

Apparently Blake felt like he was on a roll with the epic Christian literature, because he went ahead and did Divine Comedy too.  Thank goodness he died before it was complete.

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2 thoughts on “Go Break a Leg, William Blake

  1. Pingback: Hot Yoga – Hate it or Heat it. | Hot Yoga Lover

  2. Pingback: Paul Gustave Doré | Raiders of the Best Art

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