Thursday, April 26, 2012


British Museum
Jerusalem, Plate 100

Another instance of Blake using a single image as he did in the Arlington Tempera, to portray a summation of his myth in visual form, is the final plate of Jerusalem. The central figure is Los, the blacksmith whose furnaces were the instrument for shaping thought by destroying error repeatedly until truth became recognisable. In addition to his hammer whose force moulded the malleable metals following the softening in the fire, Los holds the compass which symbolises the rational method of creation as used by Urizen or Newton. The Zoa of reason is also portrayed in the figure on the left who carries on his shoulder a globe of light, as did Urizen in his Eternal form as the Prince of Light.

The right of the picture is devoted to symbols of the feminine, the emanative form. She holds the spindle and the woven fabric (or perhaps veil.) The moon in the form of an ark, pours out the water of material experience. There are three stars from the chain which was created to prevent man from falling from heaven into the abyss.

The lower background consists of a serpentine wall and a circle of triathlons, symbols of error which had been overcome.

Jerusalem, Plate 98,(E 258)
"According to the subject of discourse & every Word & Every Character
Was Human according to the Expansion or Contraction, the Translucence or
Opakeness of Nervous fibres such was the variation of Time & Space
Which vary according as the Organs of Perception vary & they walked
To & fro in Eternity as One Man reflecting each in each & clearly seen
And seeing: according to fitness & order. And I heard Jehovah speak
Terrific from his Holy Place & saw the Words of the Mutual Covenant Divine
On Chariots of gold & jewels with Living Creatures starry & flaming
With every Colour, Lion, Tyger, Horse, Elephant, Eagle Dove, Fly, Worm,
And the all wondrous Serpent clothed in gems & rich array Humanize
In the Forgiveness of Sins according to the Covenant of Jehovah."

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