Friday, April 19, 2013


The term Last Judgment is not mentioned in the Bible. In a parable of the Kingdom in Matthew's gospel Jesus speaks of the division of the nations along the lines of those who provide for the needy and those who do not: 'Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.' (Matthew 25:45-46) Blake saw the Last Judgment as the final casting away of error so that the just would no longer be oppressed by it.

In Blake's paintings which he named Visions of the Last Judgment, he showed the division between those going to 'life eternal' and those falling away from the vision of Eternity which they rejected. His description of one of his paintings of the Last Judgment (now lost) includes this passage which demonstrates how the images which filled the Bible and his poetry appeared in close proximity in his picture. He mentions all of these images of what appeared in just one small section of his vision:
Savior & Redeemer
Holy Spirit like a Dove
Ark of the Covenant
Dove of Peace
Table of Shew bread
Glorification of Angels
Mount of God
River of Life
Tree of Life
temples, pinnacles, tents, pavilions, gardens, groves
Beams of Glory
Infants representing Eternal Births of Intellect

Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 562)
   "Over the Head of the Saviour & Redeemer The Holy
Spirit like a Dove is surrounded by a blue Heaven in which are
the two Cherubim that bowd over the Ark for here the temple is
opend in Heaven & the Ark of the Covenant is as a Dove of Peace  
The Curtains are drawn apart Christ having rent the Veil The
Candlestick & the Table of Shew bread appear on Each side a
Glorification of Angels with Harps surrou[n]d the Dove 
     The Temple stands on the Mount of God from it flows on each
side the River of Life on whose banks Grows the tree of Life
among whose branches temples & Pinnacles tents & pavilions
Gardens & Groves Display Paradise with its Inhabitants walking up
& down in Conversations concerning Mental Delights 
     Here they are no longer talking of what is Good &
Evil or of what is Right or Wrong & puzzling themselves in Satans
Labyrinth But are Conversing with Eternal
Realities as they Exist in the Human Imagination   We are in a
World of Generation & death & this world we must cast off if we
would be Painters Such as Rafa[e]l Mich Angelo & the
Ancient Sculptors. if we do not cast off this world we shall be
only Venetian Painters who will be cast off & Lost from Art 
     Jesus is surrounded by Beams of Glory in which are
seen all around him Infants emanating from him   these represent
the Eternal Births of Intellect from the divine Humanity" 
British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughhts 

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