William Blake

Artist / Poet

Born: 28 November 1757
Died: 12 August 1827
Birthplace: London, England
Best known as: The mystic English poet who wrote "Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright"
William Blake was an English poet and artist whose illuminated prints included Songs of Innocence and Experience (1794), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1792) and Milton (1811). Blake began writing poems as a boy, many of them inspired by religious visions. Apprenticed to an engraver as a young man, Blake learned skills that allowed him to put his poems and drawings together on etchings, and he began to publish his own painted prints. Throughout his life he survived on small commissions, never gaining much attention from the London art world. His art was mystical and sensual and he rejected Rationalism. Blake's paintings were rejected by the public (he was called a "lunatic" for his imaginative work), but he had a profound influence on Romanticism as a literary movement. Blake's work includes the poem "The Tyger" ("Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright/ In the forests of the night") from Songs of Experience (1794); Visions of the Daughters of Albion; America: A Prophecy (1793); Jerusalem (1820); 50 Bible paintings from 1799; and a series of Dante illustrations from 1825.

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