Art UK has updated its cookies policy. By using this website you are agreeing to the use of cookies. To find out more read our updated Use of Cookies policy and our updated Privacy policy.

William Blake (Born London, 28 November 1757; died London, 12 August 1827). English printmaker, painter, poet, and mystical philosopher, one of the most remarkable figures of the Romantic period and one of the supreme individualists in the history of art. He was equally gifted in poetry and the visual arts, and in both fields he worked in a highly original, deeply personal idiom that expressed his idiosyncratic views and fiercely independent personality. His unorthodoxy was bound up with his hatred of materialism and rationalism, which he thought fettered the mind and spirit and led to misery and oppression. He was deeply religious and frequently depicted Christian subjects in his paintings and prints, but he used private as well as traditional imagery, with complex—often obscure—symbolism reflecting his wide and varied reading, and he came to regard art, imagination, and religion as indivisible. In matters of technique he was just as original, developing new methods of printing to publish his poetry and pictures together. He had a few loyal patrons and admirers, but for most of his life he struggled to earn a living, being ignored or dismissed as eccentric (or mad) by the world at large. It was not until long after his death that he was widely recognized as one of the great men of his age.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

Do you know someone who would love this resource?
Tell them about it...