William Blake ( * 1757 † 1827 )

Biography of William Blake

The artist who followed his visions

William Blake was born on November 28, 1757 in London. As a poet and painter, engraver and inventor of relief etching, William Blake possessed a gift that became a burden to him. Even as a small child, he had mystical visions of God and angels. His parents were suspicious of his stories, and they realized that their son was different from the other children, so he taught him home.

At the age of 10, William Blake knew he wanted to become an artist. However, the drawing school was too expensive and the parents sent him to the engraver James Basire, where he started as an apprentice. He drew the trenches at Westminster Abbey. The Gothic style inspired him and was always evident in his works. After completing his apprenticeship Blake worked as an independent engraver.

In 1779, Blake was inducted into the Royal Academy of Arts. He wanted to be a history painter. But the Academy President disapproved of his work and did not promote it, which is why he soon finished his studies.

Blake's works are spiritual and shaped by his visions. He drew inspiration from the Bible and was always on the religious quest. Blake also wrote poetry, which he also illustrated afterwards. One of his most famous books was published in 1789 and was called "Songs of Innocence and Experience". One of the best-known poems in the book is called "The Tyger."

His most significant illustrations include works on the Book of Job (21 erased leaves, 1824) and Dante's "Divine Comedy" (1826). His works include: "The Ancient of Days", "The Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun", "The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve".

Blake lived from 1800 to 1803 in the coastal town of Felpham, where he got the support of the poet William Hayley in a difficult financial phase. He then moved with his wife back to London, where he spent the rest of his life. In 1784 he even founded a printing company where he worked for life. As a simple engraver and illustrator of books he remained unknown and destitute during his lifetime. But he found fulfillment in art and lived very happy, not least because of the loyal support of his wife. He was a stubborn man who called himself a medium of spirits.

William Blake died in 1827. His works were not popular in his lifetime, because they were different, mystical and shaped by visions. Only the so-called Pre-Raphaelite artists admired his works from the mid-19th century William Blake became one of the most important figures in British art.

Art prints and oil reproductions by William Blake

Images per page: 100
Image view:  Shop | Gallery
TO THE TOP