Human Form Divine

William Blake from the Paul Mellon Collection

Patrick Noon

View Inside Price: $50.00


April 24, 1997
96 pages, 7 x 10
60 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300071740
Cloth

Copublished with the Yale Center for British Art

Apocalyptic, revolutionary, visionary, and lyrical—these words all describe the imagination of William Blake. One of the most gifted rebels of the Romantic era, Blake was an accomplished poet, painter, experimental engraver, and philosopher. In particular, the series of illuminated books he created from the 1780s onward remains one of the most heroic achievements of British Romanticism.
This book examines Blake's stupendous achievement by discussing and displaying some fifty works out of the Paul Mellon collection at the Yale Center for British Art. These include a number of Blake's illuminated books of poetry—the pastoral Songs of Innocence, the prophetic Songs of Experience, Book of Urizen, Book of Thel, and America a Prophecy, as well as plates that comprise the unique, hand-colored copy of Jerusalem, the Emanation of the Giant Albion, Blake's master synthesis of visual imagery and prophetic verse. Blake's work in other media is represented by tempera paintings and watercolors from his series of illustrations to the Bible and a selection of watercolor illustrations to the Poems of Thomas Gray, which reveal the range and wit of Blake's genius at interpreting other poets' work and the brilliance of his mature watercolor technique. Also included in the book are Blake's late engraved illustrations to the Book of Job, Dante's Divine Comedy, and The Pastorals of Virgil. In an introductory essay, Patrick Noon discusses the history of the collection and Paul Mellon's role in promoting Blake studies.

Patrick Noon is curator of prints, drawings, and rare books at the Yale Center for British Art.

"This book will successfully introduce still more of us to the wonder of Blake's vision and make us all yearn to go to Yale to see the magnificence of the originals."—Robert Orme, The Art Book

"The significance of this book is that is reminds us of the uniqueness of each copy of any Blake book, and how much can be gained about Blake's intentions by studying the minutest details of their production. . . . The illustrations are a delight, successfully representing the variety of his tone and showing the freshness of his washes in well-balanced colour plates. . . . The text is useful for those interested in the history of the collection and how tastes have changed in the way we look at Blake."—Robert Orme, The Art Book

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