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Christ's Entry into Jerusalem|
This image by Blake painted in oil on copper for Thomas Butts is out of the ordinary even for Blake. The subject of Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday receives a distinctive treatment. Jesus and his party of disciples enjoy a conventional treatment although they display the elongated bodies and reduced sized heads which Blake adopted for a period of time. The crowd gathered around Jesus are definitely unconventional since they are in various degrees of undress. The contrasting sizes of the various figures leads to a confusion of scale and perspective.
The 'window' through which Jerusalem is visible is framed by trees which are being climbed by figures of individuals attempting to reach a higher level. Jerusalem is not pictured as the earthly city of Jesus's day but as the heavenly Jerusalem of the vision of John of Patmos.
During the period when Blake was reevaluating Classical thought as an influence on his myth and prophecy, he seems to have reconsidered the neoclassical style of art which he had adopted in much of his work. Neoclassicism gained prominence with the enlightenment; Blake looked to replace them both. This picture owes much to Mannerism, a style of the 16th century. According to this National Gallery website Mannerism demonstrated that "excellence in painting demanded refinement, richness of invention, and virtuoso technique, criteria that emphasized the artist’s intellect." Blake found that this technique allowed him to use his intellect and inventiveness to stimulated a fresh view of a Biblical scene which could be opened to vision.
Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 122, (E 391) "The times revolve the time is coming when all these delights Shall be renewd & all these Elements that now consume Shall reflourish. Then bright Ahania shall awake from death A glorious Vision to thine Eyes a Self renewing Vision The spring. the summer to be thine then Sleep the wintry days In silken garments spun by her own hands against her funeral The winter thou shalt plow & lay thy stores into thy barns Expecting to recieve Ahania in the spring with joy Immortal thou. Regenerate She & all the lovely Sex From her shall learn obedience & prepare for a wintry grave That spring may see them rise in tenfold joy & sweet delight Thus shall the male & female live the life of Eternity Because the Lamb of God Creates himself a bride & wife That we his Children evermore may live in Jerusalem Which now descendeth out of heaven a City yet a Woman Mother of myriads redeemd & born in her spiritual palaces By a New Spiritual birth Regenerated from Death"