Biography of William Blake | Painter.

(London, 1757-1827) Painter, engraver and British poet, one of the most unique and endowed art figures and English literature. It was for some a lighted Mystic, a religious caught in her own world, and for others a crazy poor who survived thanks to the few friends who, like Thomas Butts, believed in his art and bought him some prints. Posterity, however, has considered to William Blake as a visionary.
His father was a hosier, and seems to have belonged to a sect of followers of Swedenborg. In 1771, Blake began to work as an apprentice with James Bazire engraver; in 1780 he met the cold and rigid Neoclassical sculptor John Flaxman, who learned the taste by the security and accuracy of contours in the drawing.

William Blake
During the first period of his life, which reaches his marriage in 1782 Catherine Boucher (which was revealed a perfect wife for him) and the publication of the Poetical Sketches (poetical sketches, 1783), dedicated to poetry and fine arts; He studied Greek artists, Raphael, Dürer and especially Miguel Ángel, who, unable to assimilate into their creative and volumetric power, resulted in linear terms, which approached unconsciously the curvilinear game Celtic miniaturists. His great enthusiasm for the famous sculptor also participated the Swiss painter H. Fuseli (Füssli), which was established in England in 1779, was curator of the Royal Academy, and undoubtedly influenced Blake.
Blake, on the other hand, underwent further the influence of the Gothic, and copied the sepulchral monuments of the Abbey of Westminster and other ancient temples. Flaxman introduced him in the gathering of Mrs. Mathew, where were also appreciated his qualities as poet. Already composed verses from 1768-69, and, even if not regular studies, yes had carried out extensive readings: Shakespeare, Milton, the Bible and Ossian. It was inspired by the style of the Elizabethan period, and did not hide his contempt for the affectation and the "primores" of Baroque poets.
In 1783 they were printed, at the expense of Flaxman and the Reverend Henry Mathew, the Poetical Sketches; but management of these patrons should be already little pleasing to the author, by the words of patronizing protection upstream by Mathew or well because of the same word sketches (that Blake was a pejorative sense) of the title, about which had not been consulted the poet. Blake, who not only could review the evidence, all the edition was given so that you provided it to his taste; the author was confined to distribute some copies of the work to several friends, and not already spoke about the book.
The second stage of his life (1783-1803) comprises the maturation of its poetic and pictorial art. In 1784 he opened a business of engravings, which lasted until the death of his brother Robert. He then worked for others: first with Thomas Butts, who helped him generously and has always been his friend, and, later (1800), alongside William Hayly, noble who boasted of poet and patron of the arts and that assigned to Blake as residence a "cottage" in Felpham, on the coast of Sussex, where our author spent three years placid and composed some verses which are among the most delicious and abstruse of its production. From 1793 to 1800 he lived in Lambeth, London suburb. In 1789 appeared the songs of innocence, illustrated by himself, followed five years later by the songs of experience, which expresses the fall of man in poems unforgettable, as "The sick rose" or "The Tiger", "terrifying symmetry."
In his last period (1803-27), last in this capital, revealed in poetry an increasing extravagance, followed by twenty years of almost uninterrupted silence and a full consolidation as an artist. In London first fell into the hands of Richard Cromek, who exploited it. Then, after the break with this, he worked with John Linnell (1813), painter of landscapes and the best of their employers; for he recorded Inventions on the Book of Job, his masterpiece, and some illustrations for the Divine Comedy. In the last years of its existence it was surrounded by a circle of friends and disciples.

Illustration of Blake's the Divine Comedy (Inferno, V)
Among the literary works of his later years include the marriage of heaven and hell (1793), and later two serial written and illustrated between 1804 and 1820: Milton (1804-1818) and Jerusalem (1804-1820), in which openly rejects all forms of conventional religion and looks great great things expensive topics to the symbolism at the end of the 19th century, as the attraction to the abyss and the expiration of the bourgeois moral. Blake modified, in addition, the metric and English classical rhythms, incorporating cultured poetry popular songs, ballads and children's Lo procedures. His notebooks with some short poems, written between 1793 and 1818, were purchased in 1847 by the poet D.G. Rossetti, one of the first artists to recognize the exceptional value of its work.
These external events do not allow to reconstruct the extraordinary character of William Blake, very irritable and capable of giving so much importance to a private matter to carry books, where the problem was acquiring large proportions; revolutionary theory (was strongly impressed by the revolutions in America and France) and adversary of the sovereign and the laws, said a violent nature, even through his physical appearance: small size, and with broad square shoulders and a large authoritarian head, possessed the type of men of the French Revolution.
On the other hand, I was impressionable and sincere, he possessed an eternal boy or a primitive own enthusiasm and sense of innocence. She judged material realities of his vivid imagination creations: thus, the most notable event of his life had to be the vision of large number of angels on a tree; Blake had scarce a decade and onwards, had colloquies with prophets and saints incarnate.
The reading of texts of mystic and occult literature clinched him in their beliefs about the value of his visionary experience. His cardinal idea became the absolute distrust in the testimony of the senses; for William Blake, these are barriers that stand between the soul and true wisdom and the joy of eternity. By denying the sensitive world, did not see things as they appear, but only the types and eternal and more real than those same ideas: not the lambs, but the Lamb, or Tigers, but Tiger. Such archetypes were presented to their eyes with a particular relief, which gave rise to the exalted of his engravings way. As an artist, therefore, Blake is a typical "Mannerist", in the line of Fuseli: it is the dissolution of the classical forms, and this without once it has arrived to the new romantic balance still.
The great visionary intensity of William Blake is both reflected in his poetry as pictorial. The rejection of direct observation of nature as creative source led him to lock only in its inside look. Thus, he created his figures without worrying about the anatomical structure or proportions, since it considered that correct what they had faithfully reflected his inner vision was too banal, light and surface to a process which, as he himself said, it penetrated in "eternity proportions too great for the eye of man".

Nebuchadnezzar (1795)
In the work of the artist should point the Monotypes from 1793, which include Nabucodonosor (1795, Tate Gallery, London). In the treatment of this subject, in which a hapless man undergoes transformation in an animal, the artist reveals certain coldness structured against the Unreal. In this work are appreciated the most characteristic elements of the style of Blake: the predominance of the drawing over color, recourse to the undulating contours that figures give rhythm and vitality, the monumental simplicity of its stylized forms and gestures of intense drama.
Blake used new techniques of engraving and printing, such as Watercolour etching in color or printed miniatures. For the artist, the text and illustrations were to constitute a whole. Notably, his illustrations of the Book of Job; the Divine Comedy of Dante and Milton Paradise lost . He also illustrated his own books: the songs of innocence, printed for the first time in 1789, and the songs of experience in 1794. They masterfully combines text and image with a technique that is superimposed to the etching and finishing by hand, establishing an intimate merger between the world of ideas and the stimuli visible. Blake was interested in expressing the world through emotions, beyond reason, but that quality of "visionary" in Blake was not more than an mystical and spiritual force.
Most of the writings of William Blake was posted in a way that he himself invented and began to employ to 1788. According to this method of printing illuminated (illuminated printing), the text and illustrations were transferred in reverse up plates of copper with a substance not alterable by the action of acids (a kind of varnish); These were then recorded as an etching until, finally, all artwork gained relief. After the engravings, later the artist gently illuminating watercolour, obtained this with which each of the copies possessed an own individuality.
Towards 1793, Blake introduced a modification in the original procedure: the "woodcutting on copper" (carving on copper), used together with other method in nearly all printed works from that date. In such a system the iron was covered at the beginning with a fund; the parts that had to be recorded, or the contours of the drawing, were drawn with a sharp instrument; the background to the text, which was carried on the metal as in the other procedure available for is then removing and, finally, is recorded all the copper by the acid. The current method of engraving was used only in some of the works of Blake.
The personality of William Blake was too exceptional as so it could be included in the English tradition and make school (even in painting had a follower, as Samuel Palmer). However, since its renewal in 1863 through the work of the pre-raphaelites, he met a wide posthumous fortune. As a poet, the marriage of heaven and hell is his most work. It reveals a clear influence of Swedenborg, and is a mix of apocalyptic visions and Sibylline aphorisms.
While the current Outlook, after the advances of the psychoanalysis and anthropology, allows access to the work of Blake in another way, unusual wisdom which is characterized by the darkness of the inaccessible reflect this evidence. Like other contemporaries, William Blake discovered the cracks and gaps that the illustration left side to questions of great significance, and snapped his particular allegation with a prophetic density and a premonitory energy that made him a key figure for the development of the romantic poetry.
Extracted from the website: Biografías y Vidas
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