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01 December 2008

Blake tutorial by request / the Mystic Experience of the Eternal, now largely vanished from our world

Click image for larger.

My favorite of all Blake's visual works. Newton diagrams God's System Of The World at the seashore. To Blake, Newton's achievements in revealing the secrets of the Universe threatened to destroy the spiritual dimension of human beings, and render the future an entirely materialistic world.

Isaac Newton
by William Blake (1795)

Copper engraving with pen and ink and watercolour, 460 x 600 mm
Tate Gallery, London

Blake sought to exemplify the deeper significance of his philosophical thought in the tension between the immediate realism of his image and fantastic symbolism.

Newton, man naked and created out of chaos, appears to be breaking through the chaos. He is discovering the law that is inherent in his own physical nature. Man has tasted of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and now his intellect reveals to his astonished gaze the abstract reality of creation.

I hope you get this font, it is "Frank Ruehl," it looks pretty to me.
I will try to give more tutorials about Blake. Finding and filching the images is easy, and stealing what the Museum has to say about each piece, is easy. But really learning about Blake or daring to speak about Blake ... well, all that I know about Blake, his art, his poetry, I know the way I would know about four sailors who dragged me into an alley and beat me up.

You don't learn about Blake from others. Blake himself teaches you, exactly what he wants you to know, and how he wants you to understand it. When Blake has finished with you, you can stop paying money to colleges to teach you more about Blake.
We are Embarrassed today to be too close to a Mystic Vision of the Universe. Blake came at the end of the times when people thought Mystic Visions were commonplace, and every county had one or two Mystic Visionaries. We are embarrassed today to have direct conversations with God and Nature, and with Dead People (his brother died young, but they kept talking to each other at least until Blake died, the brother guided and inspired Blake's artistic flowering). Blake was the last of the Mystics who wasn't embarrassed about anything. He looked into the guts and veins of the Universe, of Stars and of Life, of Slaves and Suffering Children of City Poverty. And then he told what he saw and drew pictures of it.
We have been, by and large, successfully educated to cringe from these one-on-one direct confrontations with Eternity, and to reject them in ourselves, and in all others. This gives us the belief that we have become Sophisticated, by making certain that we never have direct encounter with Eternity, with God and Nature.
We have blocked and sealed a window and a door to perception and experience, so now we are smarter than people used to be.
One fellow on his blog said Blake's engraving of the Tyger was the ugliest, worst painting of a tiger he'd ever seen. Your guy said it best: "Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens." ["Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves struggle in vain." -- Schiller]
Two nights ago Thanksgiving at Neffe's, he is now a freshman at a good college in Los Angeles. On the bookshelf I notice a nice Oxford paperback edition of "Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience," with every engraving in color, and he said, "Sure, Uncle Bob, that was for high school, I don't need it anymore," so now it is Mine and I am peering through it with a magnifier, trying to read the poems Blake's way. It is quite the unique experience, I have never gotten close either to art or to poems this way.


patfromch said...

Cool, at least I am definetly looking forward to that. My word, I have learned so much cool stuff here Vleeptron. You are definetly enhancing my knowledge of the fine arts. This is sort of like Open University or one of the arts programmes in the middle of the night when you can't sleep.

I really appreciate your effort in this direction. Let's bring Art to the Masses, yay !
I wonder what the reception of Blake's paintings was during his lifetime. They are so vivid, coloourful, visionary but clear. They look so modern ! I like his detailism and the choice of colours, but not all of the themes.
The influence of Blake in pop cultrure or the fine arts is astonishing, just look at some of the names

I also just learned that shortly before his death Blake was working on an illustration for Dante's Divine Comdy, unfortunetly unfinished. I need to check that out as well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again Bob,

as you can see finally the browser problem is solved and I can leave a comment.Great you posted more about Blake.
The pictures motivate me very much to go into the depth of my soul and get connect with the big mistress or master again. I have been on the dark side of the universe for a while.However. Thanks again!!! U.