William Blake—poet, printmaker, artist—drew inspiration from the Bible throughout his life. Shortly before his death in 1827, he began an illuminated manuscript of the Book of Genesis, revisiting such key themes as creation, division, and forgiveness. Blake was also concerned with questions of biblical interpretation: his two depictions of the creation of Eve, for instance, demonstrate his engagement with theories of Genesis as a composite text. This landmark edition of Blake’s Genesis
provides the first full-size color reproduction of the Huntington Library’s manuscript. Blake completed 11 pages of text decorated with pencil and watercolor designs, including two vibrantly colored title pages. Blake’s unfinished pages offer rare insights into his process of composition, such as the way in which he conceived of and worked up his designs from preliminary sketches. Mark Crosby and Robert N. Essick’s detailed critical commentary considers the way in which Blake read his Genesis, Blake’s relationship with patron John Linnell, and the iconography of Blake’s designs and their relation to earlier works.
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