The Language Of The Prophetic Art By David Bindman

1201 words - 5 pages

William Blake’s print titled The Whirlwind of Lovers; the Circle of the Lustful (Fig.1.) depicts a scene from Dante’s Divine Comedy. In the essay The Language of The Prophetic Art Bindman main points were that throughout Blake’s life his art developed and evolved reflecting previous techniques in the past some he continued to use in his artwork and some he rejected later in his career. He argues this point through the use of comparing Blake’s artwork to that of other artists before his time or during his time and using these examples as clear instances of Blake adopting other styles and incorporating it into his artwork.

In the essay Bindman main points was addressing Blake’s gradual change of style in his artwork and by adopting other styles. He does by stating in Blake’s artwork depicts each figure with differentiated features, citing that this type of style was associated in the time of Raphael, during the high renaissance movement. He states that “later in his art career, Blake began to eliminate background figures and showing strong facial expressions in the figures in the foreground” . And cites the artworks Europe (No. 44) (Fig. 2.), The Book of Urizen (Pl, IV) (Fig. 3.), and Plague (No. 12) (Fig. 4.) examples of where the main figures are showing intense emotions. He shows these examples of Blake’s artwork changing styles to support his point that Blake’s artwork was always gradually evolving throughout his art career. I agree with this point due to the many examples he provided of Blake’s artwork incorporating the use of intense emotions in figures.

Bindman continues to address Blake’s evolution of artistic techniques by also stating how during the 1790’s Blake’s artwork became more expressive of the human body. He states this “art style was similar to the artist Charles Le Brun use of dramatic facial expression and body expression”. He addresses this similarity by stating how his depiction and description of Albion’s rapture before Christ in Plate 76 of Jerusalem (Fig. 5.) is similar to Le Brun’s Terrour or Fright (Fig. 6.). Both artworks are described as having wide open eyes, the mouth being half open, and the corners of the eyes being very visible.

Bindman also addresses that Blake’s use of emotion corresponding with the human body and the space around the figures he cites the color print of Newton (Pl, VI) (Fig. 7.) “where a scientist is depicted in a posture of that of a man deep in despair, the print use of closing-in on the body and the downward direction of his gaze conveys the sense of despair in the figure” . This display of intense emotions is another example of Blake’s use of older art styles in incorporating them into his development as an artist, relating back to the use of dramatic facial expression by Charles Le Brun. I agree with this point also because he related his style evolving back to previous styles he used in older work, showing his growth as an artist.

His work became more of precision of contour and...

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