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William Blake (1757-1827), the radical English poet and illustrator, illustrated his own poems as well as the works of other authors, including Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dante's Inferno, and Milton's Paradise Lost. In 1823-26 he turned to illustrating the Book of Job. We include a number of his illustrations here and a full list.
|Frontispiece to William Blake, Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job. With Descriptive Letterpress, and A Sketch of the Artist’s Life and Works. By Charles Eliot Norton (Boston: James R. Osgood and Co., 1875).
“The Fire of God is fallen from Heaven.”
In this subject we behold the workings of the power granted by the Lord to Satan over all that Job hath,—the fire of God falling from heaven, and a great wind from the wilderness smiting the house, and tumbling it in ruins on the feasters, while, seated cross-legged on a toppling wall, Satan, black-winged, looks down with a leer of satisfaction on the destruction. Behind him, instead of the circle of clear and peaceful light behind the Almighty in the preceding plate, there is a circle, symbolic of the power granted him, from which dart lightnings and angular thunderbolts. The sympathetic fancy of the artist appears in the framing design, formed of tongues of flame, and wreaths of smoke, in the hollows of which one may see the gleam of serpents’ scales, and beneath the figures of scorpions. [Charles Eliot Norton].
“The Just, Upright Man is laughed to Scorn.”
Job, risen upon his knees, prays his reproachful friends to have pity on him, for the hand of God has touched him; but the just, upright man is laughed to scorn. Again the architecture in the background takes the form of a heavy cross; the hills are still black; but behind them is a faint light, “for though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” [Charles Eliot Norton].
List of Plates
PLATE I. “Thus did Job continually” Ch. i. 1-5.
II. “When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me” Ch. i. 6-12.
III. “The fire of God is fallen from heaven” Ch. i. 13-19.
IV. “And I only am escaped alone to tell thee” Ch. i. 14-19.
V. “Then went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord” Ch. ii. 6.
VI. “And smote Job with sore boils” Ch. ii. 7.
VII. “They lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not” Ch. ii. 11-12.
VIII. “Let the day perish wherein I was born” Ch. ii. 13; iii. 3-7.
IX. “Then a spirit passed before my face” Ch. iv. 15.
X. “The just, upright man is laughed to scorn” Ch. xii. 4.
XI. “With dreams upon my bed thou scarest me, and affrightest me with visions” Ch. vii. 14.
XII. “I am young, and ye are very old, wherefore I was afraid” Ch. xxxii. 6.
XIII. “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind” Ch. xxxviii. 1.
XIV. “When the Morning Stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy” Ch. xxxviii. 7.
XV. “Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee” Ch. xl. 15; ch. xli.
XVI. “Thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked” Ch. xxxvi. 17.
XVII. “I have heard thee with the hearing of the ear, but now my eye seeth thee” Ch. xlii. 5.
XVIII. “And my servant Job shall pray for you” Ch. xlii. 7-9.
XIX. “Every one also gave him a piece of money” Ch. xlii. 11.
XX. “There were not found women fair as the daughters of Job in all the land” Ch. xlii. 15.
XXI. “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than the beginning” Ch. xlii. 12-17.