Although the paintings are much admired, there has been little agreement on the theme which Blake intended in deciding on the subject matter of particular images. Individual pictures are associated with Shakespeare, Milton, the Old and New Testament of the Bible, and events of Blake's own time.
By arranging the series from creation to resurrection it is possible to see in the series the habitual structure of creation, fall and return which Blake discerns as the paradigm of human or spiritual development. The order I will follow in later posts is:
1. Elohim Creating Adam
2. Satan Exaulting Over Eve
3. The Good and Evil Angels
4. God Judging Adam
5. Lamech and His Two Wives
7. The House of Death
8. Hecate or The Night of Enitharmon's Joy
10. Naomi Entreating Ruth
12. Christ Appearing to the Apostles
Blake uses the term fresco to refer to his painting in watercolor harkening back to Michelangelo's technique on plaster.
Public Address, (E 577) "Fresco Painting is properly Miniature, or Enamel Painting; every thing in Fresco is as high finished as Miniature or Enamel, although in Works larger than Life. The Art has been lost: I have recovered it. How this was done, will be told, together with the whole Process, in a Work on Art, now in the Press. The ignorant Insults of Individuals will not hinder me from doing my duty to my Art. Fresco Painting, as it is now practised, is like most other things, the contrary of what it pretends to be. The execution of my Designs, being all in Water-colours, (that is in Fresco) are regularly refused to be exhibited by the Royal Academy, and the British Institution has, this year, followed its example, and has effectually excluded me by this Resolution; I therefore invite those Noblemen and Gentlem[e]n, who are its Subscribers, to inspect what they have excluded: and those who have been told that my Works are but an unscientific and irregular Eccentricity, a Madman's Scrawls, I demand of them to do me the justice to examine before they decide. There cannot be more than two or three great Painters or Poets in any Age or Country; and these, in a corrupt state of Society, are easily excluded, but not so easily obstructed. They have ex[c]luded Watercolours; it is therefore become necessary that I should exhibit to the Public, in an Exhibition of my own, my Designs, Painted in Watercolours. If Italy is enriched and made great by RAPHAEL, if MICHAEL ANGELO is its supreme glory, if Art is the glory of a Nation, if Genius and Inspiration are the great Origin and Bond of Society, the distinction my Works have obtained from those who best understand such things, calls for my Exhibition as the greatest of Duties to my Country." May 15. 1809 WILLIAM BLAKE
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