8 Famous Paintings by William Blake 

The Ancient of Days


The Ancient of Days is a drawing by William Blake, first published in 1794 illustrating a prophecy.

The composition draws its name from the Bible in the Book of Daniel which depicts Urizen bending in an orbicular form with a cloud-like framework. Urizen's outstretched hand contains a compass over the mysterious void below. 




William Blake created Pity (about 1795) as a color print on paper that was embellished with ink and watercolor. It is a member of the series of works known as the "Large Color Prints."

It shared influences with his previous works from this time period from the Bible and Shakespeare. The piece is noteworthy since it represents a double simile from the play Macbeth in the format:

And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, hors'd
Upon the sightless couriers of the air.


The Angel of Revelation


This piece is one of a collection of eighty watercolors on biblical subjects that Blake created for Thomas Butts, a significant patron.

In later chapters of the book of Revelation, he discovered the topic and explains both the author and his vision.

On the island of Patmos, a small Saint John holds his pen in his hand as he observes a "great angel, wrapped with a cloud, with a rainbow upon his head, and his face as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire."

The Colossus of Rhodes was used as inspiration for the artist's depiction of the angel's water-spanning pose, and he imagined the seven thunders mentioned in the text as horses galloping through the clouds.

The Lovers Whirlwind


Before his death in 1827, Blake painted The Lovers Whirlwind in a surrealist manner. It shows lovers' wicked bodies ascending to heaven. He was inspired to create this work after reading a Dante script.



Newton is depicted in a crouching, naked position on a rocky protrusion covered with algae, seemingly at the bottom of the sea.

His focus is on the diagrams he creates on a scroll using a compass. Blake, who was skeptical of Newton's believes, depicts him as only adhering to his compass and oblivious to the vibrant nature behind him. The compass is a representation of geometry and rational order.

The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve

The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve by William Blake

The biblical tale from Genesis 4 is the inspiration for this work. Cain lures his brother to the field where he kills him out of rage that God rejected his tribute. The work provides a non-biblical story of the parents' discovery of their dead son.

Abel's dead body is found lying on its side near to a grave that Cain may have dug for his brother. A mother's writhing agony over her dead kid is suggested by the way Eve's body is twisted over her son.

Adam appears terrified and holds out his hands as if he's attempting to stop the massive mountain from collapsing on them. Blake appears to allude to the husband's great battle to keep his family's evil from spreading while attempting to keep a level front.

The fact that Eve's face is veiled seems to imply that she is too distraught to face the outside world or her murderous son.

Blake's strategy appears to be influenced by Lavater, who argued that a person's outward behavior is always preferable to his inside conduct.

Lavater did add, though, that committing a bad deed changes a person's appearance. It could explain why Cain's body was warped by Blake.

Satan Smiting Job with Sore Boils by William Blake

 Satan Smiting Job with Sore Boils by William Blake

The permanence of death and suffering in a universe ruled by a compassionate, all-powerful God is a topic covered in the biblical "Book of Job" and depicted in this painting.

God and Satan debate the boundaries of human endurance in "Job." God permits Satan to subject Job to severe afflictions, including the death of his family.

In spite of this, as God foresaw, Job's faith is unwavering, and God rewards him by restoring his health, riches, and family. Here, Blake depicts Satan causing boils to torture Job.

The Night of Enitharmon's Joy by William Blake

 The Night of Enitharmon's Joy by William Blake

In 1795, pen and ink and watercolor were used to create The Night of Enitharmon's Joy on paper. Although watercolour is frequently associated with the soft, sweet romanticism of the Romantic Period, Blake employs it in this painting to achieve a very different impression.

Enitharmon's main heroine, with her sinuous body and alabaster complexion echoing Greek and Roman art, stands out strongly against the whispering black of the backdrop darkness.

The bright eyes of the owl and the fuzzy mane of the donkey stand out sharply against the overwhelming, dense blackness, giving the bat's fur a palpable aspect as he takes flight.

More features start to emerge from the shadows as the work is viewed for a longer period of time. Enitharmon is actually a trio of figures; a man and woman are outlined behind her, possibly emerging as she starts to read from her magical book in the foreground.

Although the bat has wings, its face resembles that of a cat. Below the owl is another incomplete creature, whose head may resemble that of a crocodile.

The entire scenario has a vibe that is both seductive and terrifying.


William Blake, a poet and painter, developed his own mythical anthology of figures to reflect his political and spiritual views, which were not widely shared in his lifetime.

Artworks of William Blake


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