William Blake 1757-1827 EMBRACE CREATIVITY. 5E


Newton by William Blake

Hi! I still do not know what kind of technology will be availabe tomorrow but I’ve made up my mind on how to start our term on literature. No other poet could better embody the pure essence of Creativity, the fight against the injustices os his time and the constant wish to balance & blend the OPPOSITE FORCES of life in a PERENNIAL QUEST  FOR HARMONY which will be one of the main threads – together with JOURNEY as a form of discovery and  breaking down of certainties also touched by his production – running through our syllabus.  I’ve found a TV documentary you may find interesting. In order to help you while listening, try to decide whether the following statements are True or false.

  1. Blake during his life was outraged with the injustices in the world.
  2. For him the whole point of life was to open up to the infinite, the divine, the spirit.
  3. Newton in his painting was obsessed by his own imagination.
  4. He saw himself as a prophet.
  5. His illuminated printings are at The British Museum.
  6. He believed that poor people in England were free, not in chains. He portrayed only rich people.
  7. During his life he was ignored and neglected but very much appreciated by the generation of the 60s because he was a man ahead of his time.
  8. He handprinted his books because everything was sacred, a sort of revelation.

Since Blake’s message according to the documentary was: EMBRACE A WORLD OF CREATIVITY I’ve chosen this second video animation, highly visual.

The last video is an animation. Sheila Graber was Commissioned by the Tate Gallery to create a movie for their 1977 Blake Exhibition. She was even invited down into the Sculpture Hall where she actually made the movie in public view – thus demonstrating how animation on cel is actually done. It follows “The Poets” journey from Heaven to Hell and back… showing that, as Blake said, “Energy is Eternal delight and whether we create of destroy-it’s the same energy.”

How did you like that animation for such a complex poet as William Blake? Does it suit his work? Read your schoolmates’ comments & choose the one you feel the closest to your view. See you 2morrow.

22 thoughts on “William Blake 1757-1827 EMBRACE CREATIVITY. 5E

  1. Seeing these 3 videos I understood different things about William Blake. From the first video things about his life, like a little biography and a presentation of his personality. I liked the third video, but like a cartoon, beacause it’s a good animation that capture the attenction and the interest, but it doesn’t transmit a lot of real notions. The video that I appreciated the most is the second: I think that there isn’t a better presentation of an artist that let his work present himself. I think that Blake is a complete artist, beacause he is good in poetry and also in painting: the key of his success is to combine these 2 abilities to make something unique. I didn’t like his poetry, because I don’t like any type of poetry, except rarely exceptions, I find it boring.. But I really liked the paintings that he realized, because I really like the dark-gothic style that he had practising his art. So this is the reason why I preferred the second video, and also because I really liked the music combined, very appropriated beacuse inherent with the context, that reminds me a group that I really like: Evanescence. If you don’t know this group, check this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdhqVtpR2ts
    In conclusion I think that Blake is an interesting author to study because I find him really fascinating.

  2. First of all, I think that Sheila Graber was brilliant at showing through a very short animation the profound dualism that characterizes the whole Blake’s production both in painting and in poetry. The pale, thin shapes which appear at the beginning of the video are sketched without a lot of detail, drawn in outline. At a certain point, though, these figures are covered with a red layer of horrid matter by the devil itself, and their muscles are painted with excessive accuracy.

    However, both these techniques of depiction give the impression of surreal situations, as if captured in the middle of a nightmare or a vision which Blake was in fact familiar with. This atmosphere of hallucination we can find in both the kinds of figures and the fact that these are still recognizable even after the “corruption” by the devil may be regarded as a successful attempt of the director to express the ideal of the complementary opposites, the basis of Blake’s philosophy: when Good is corrupted by Evil, the latter doesn’t totally replace the former which thus coexists with its contrary.

    In conclusion, the video gives only a vague idea of Blake’s highly complex art which, however, can’t be grasped in 4 minutes unless you read his poems.

  3. I found the animation very pertinent to Blake’s poetics: it links the poet’s pictures each other, making a unique complete opere that reflects Blake’s soul and his sensibility.

    I have to say that I found this author at the same time genial and flat.
    His talent both in poetry and painting makes me realize such a complete artist he was: through this union of writing and figurative arts, together with strong colours and effective musicality of the words, he can convey more directly his intent and message.
    But I personally don’t appreciate much poetry and art that focuses too much on the trascendental aspect: there is too much fantasy in his poems and too much emotions poured out together in his paintings. Too much of the “irrational” we always mention talking about Romantic Age, too. Man of that age comes from a period when reason was glorified at the upmost level; so I think that, notwithstanding the reaction towards Enlightment that makes man looking for answers in his interior side, the Romantic intellectual can’t refuse totally the use of reason filter, otherwise his fantastic topics would bring him directly to the Middle Ages, without any evolution from that period.
    I accept the costant tension, desire, isolation and the sense of break towards nature, but, talking about Blake’s pictures, in my opinion they seem to come directly from ‘300 because of their unrealism: authors as Davìd, Gericalut or Delcroix, painters we are studying in Hostory of Art, represent their soul and their sentiments trough a real- or anyway a realistic- fact that superficially is simple. Personally I found Blake’s work as a pure vent and I don’t liked the esasperation of the irrational; actually every esasperation is not as fashinating as the simple appearence that hides a deep thought and sentiment. Maybe only Blake’s poetry can approach this my conception, but not his paintings.

    Sorry for the poem 😉

  4. William Blake was a great painter, engraver and poet who lived between the last years of the Enlightenment and the early years of Romanticism. Considered a fool by the people of his time, his genius was appreciated only after his death and more specifically in the 60s. For his time Blake was a kind of myth misunderstood, out of place. In his poetry he believed in the values that most of the time were opposed to the Enlightenment, his poetry can be viewed as the triumph of imagination.
    Blake became a visionary. In an age in which reason had to win over all, considered as the only path of truth, Blake said that without imagination the world can not be understood and discovered in its entirety and subjectivity. Besides he criticed with a kind of mockery science, Newton in his famous painting is in fact immersed in his problems and does not seem to easily find a valid answer to his several problems. Furthermore in every creature there is love and hate, both reason and energy, this is Blake’s conception of complementary opposites. Blake with his theories anticipated the way of thinking of many Romantic poets, in his works we find many images and we can see his simple style of writing but that at the same time touches issues very complicated and deep. I personally found the three videos very interesting, the first helped me to understand some things that weren’t clear to me on the beginning meanwhile the other two made me realize how great was Blake as an artist, a sort of prophet. Good use of music and slides, the intensity of the music gave me a strong emotion when I was watching the second video.

  5. I didn’t know about William Blake before I had studied him. In my opinion he can be considered a modern artist because the themes in his works are already present: the opposites coexist in the human being and in every aspects of our life.

    There are symbolisms in the East that are linked to this double aspect of life. Tao is an example where the opposites Yin (the negative part) and Yang (the positive one) must coexist together to reach the harmony and the interior balance.
    According to me everything we do includes different nuances, some positive and some negative, and generally there aren’t experiences completely good or bad, as for example in Tao where there aren’t the positive part without the black point on it.

    The third video shows very well this theme and the contrast (but also the harmony) is enhanced through the opposite and the complementary colors. I don’t believe that animation is a genre inferior in confront of others, so I think that it’s a genre that can suit every theme, included a complex artist as William Blake. The only thing that I don’t appreciate is the music: I found it very boring and monotonous with a repetitive tune.

    • You are right about the music i originally set it to Carmina Burana .. Well before it was as well known as it is today.youtube wont let me use it due to copyright .. The proper vesion is on my website http://www.graber-miller.com. Just folllow the links .. Animation.. Music that inspired me. Thanks for watching and listening!
      Sheila graber

  6. I personally think that a man, as William Blake was, is a real prodigy! We can say that he has been a “complete artist”, because he wasn’t only a genious about poetry or about drowing or about painting: he was a proffessionist in all of these arts.
    I believe that this is the maximum ambition that an artist could achieve: being able of expressing his art trought different sensory spheres. This is exactly what the videos posted have the hability to show. In fact, thanks to this tecnological support, Blake’s art becames really involving for both kind of people, those who feel more interested in figurative arts, and those who prefere poetry.

  7. Without doubt William Blake is an amazing writer and artist, I didn’t know nothing about him, only the name, before the last lesson.
    In class I hadn’t really appreciated his art but watching the last two video has opened my mind about it, his work is really great! The picture can have a simple line but the use of colour is extraordinary: they are powerful and the effect, that Blake creates, is very particular, especially the way which he gives the colour. The union of his line and the way to colouring gives at the picture something of simple but complex at the same time, I don’t know why but all his paint gives me a strange feel, it’s difficult to explain, anyway, I think that the word which can describe better it, can be Dream.
    Another thing that I really apreciated is the idea that he had: connect his poem with his drawings, I went to “Google immagine” and I saw other pages of his book, they are beautiful!!
    In my opinion the videos are adapted and they give us a excellent starting point to deepen and study an eclectic artist like William Blake, lovely and complete.

  8. I was really impressed by the work of William Blake: I found it so deep and embattled at the same time and I think he could be surely considered as an emblematic figure of the Romantic Age. He was an ecletic artist, who had an extremely complex vision very difficult to understand by people of his time, conditioned by the ideals of enlightement as Riccardo remarked before, but who tried teneciously to explain his theories.
    I think that only having a look of his paintings we could have a complete idea of Blake’s mind. The pictures showed in the videos communicated me very well the state of intense conflict felt by the author. In my opinion the real power of these works is given by the fact that the senses of the audience are stimulated by a clever use of the colors: sometimes dark, as if they were used to express pain and a tragic atmosphere, and sometimes very bright when they have to define in a clearer way the struggle of the opposites.
    I think that to understand this artist in the best way, we have to get in touch with all his expressive dimensions, both visual and literary. That’s why I found interesting to watch the videos that made me much more close to his mind. Especially in the third video I could go through the internal course of the poet with the help of the animations, which showed in a clearly way the power and the energy given by the conflict of the opposites. Even in the second video, with the sight of a lot of his paintings, I had a global vision of this personality, which went out of the rules and the clichet imposed by the society he lived in with the braveness of proposing himself as a spokesperson of a completely different sensibility.
    I also think that Blake has been really appreciated by young people especially in the sixties, because he represents the intense emotions they felt and the feelings of energy typical of this age.
    Finally I believe that this author has a very current point of view, in a world in which we are still in contact with fighting opposites, for example East and West, science and ethical problems, North and South of the world.

  9. Blake’s idea of mixing poetry and painting was brillant. He can transmits to us an emotion in two different ways: using the poetry, so with words and sounds, and using painting, so with a visual message.
    The animation, comparing to Blake’s style, is great. In fact, Blake’s paintings evoke stong emotions, because of the colour and the way of painting; the animation represents the same feelings, because of the fast succession of the immages, and the kind of music. Music is associate with the different paintings according to the kind of tune and the message that Blake want to tell us with the painting.
    Blake was a particular poet: his way of writing and painting was unique and his senteces, like “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”, influence our life today. In my opinion, if people of Blake’s time would have appreciated his poetry, he could has do other great things.

  10. I think the William Blake’s poetics is full of intensive thoughts and important messages. I was hit by the fact this poet was also an artist and I find both two types of works, poems and paintings, essential to understand this complex artist.
    In the second video we can see a sequence of his paintings. All of them were realized with a similiar tecnique and same type of colour. These characteristics make the paintings really impressive and underline the immaginary aspect. Indeed they all represent trascendental elements and visionary places. We can notice that these artistic choices follow his thoughts about the immagination, that has an fondamental role in his poetics.
    The third video is very espressive and I think Sheila Graber really did a fantastic work. She, throught a serie of images, explains the theory of complementary opposites. The begining of the video in my opinion is emblematic. The first image show the contrast between good and evil. Then these figures, that personify a dualism, embrace. This sequence of a few of seconds shows us the base of Blake’s theory. All the video is concetrated in a spiritualistic and religious theme. We know the importance of God and cristianity in a lot of his works. Watching this video a felt a sense of anxiety and restlessness. The music contribute to create this effect.
    I believe that the animation is an alternative way to understand better William Blake.

  11. I think this last animation is reductive and schematic for a personality as complex as Blake, but at the same time, the images show us poet’s thought, in particular the coexistence of opposite forces in the human life : good and evil, energy to create and energy to destroy.

    The human existence is made by imagination and creativeness, the life has to be open to the spirit, the divine and the infinite.

    In these images we can see Blake’s genius, his art is pure creativity and the solemn music that we heart gives us the right importance to his works.

    I am amazed to see how he is able as writer and as painter.

  12. William Blake was a great writer but also a great painter. His designs are very unique and attract the attention of viewers. As they said in the first video, than when he lived, he had already developed ideas that only later were understood. Some of his works are in opposition, some expressing sweetness, while others give rise to suffering. In the third video, for me, music is a beautiful effect, is associated with the right type of image that runs at that time. Blake is an author probably too complex to be present only in a video.

  13. It’s interesting that William Blake made not only poem, he was also a painter, his paintings were the images of his visions and his poems were the words of his visions.
    I think Blake was not an ordinary poet or an ordinary painter beacuese of the way he worked: he created a schenography in wich the poem was written. This thing was innovative because he transmitted images that were in his mind: for example in the image of “The Lamb” there is a shepherd who gives something to eat to the flock, and around him there is a small hut. These things remind me to something bucolic, so while i read the poem i think immediately to what the images represent.
    I like the third video beacause it’s an animation and simply with some images, it explain the ideas of the author.

  14. I think William Blake is an original poet, who diverges by the other authors of the Romanticism, principally because he was also a magnificent painter. He had the ability of expressing a sublime thinking with words and images in the same way, as we can clearly see in the second video.

    Sheila Graber showed all her ability using Blake’s works creating an animation, but it left me a bit perplexed. Only when I watched it a second time I understood what she was actually trying to communicate: there is a Divine Energy which is a delight and whether we create or destroy, that energy will have always the same intensity. I think she had perfecly interpreted Blake’s thinking and she did a very nice job!

  15. Read the poems and shown the images in the video, William Blake seems to be one of the many poets to being dedicated to something that we can consider sublime. The pictures convey an indescribable beauty, able to create different sensations in each of us, even strongly contrasting. We are in the romantic English age, but also Italian: in fact he studied Italian artists (Michelangelo) and got inspire. We note that his images are characterized by warm colors or cool colors, which can in some way reconnect to the “theory of complementary opposites.” The world of Blake has the ability to create in us as pleasure as dismay, found even in the poems read in class, in front of descriptions intense and meaningful.

  16. I had always studied authors who was specialized in a particular area of interest, what I mean is that usually an authors focus his attention or to write in every literary forms or to painting in any artistic way; then in my opinion it’s very strange to gain knowledge of William Blake : he was in the same time a poet and an artist.
    I think representing the messages in this way is genial because while you read the poem you can also see the pictures, so the concept is more evident and the readers memorizes better the idea of the text because the visual effect is immediate then when you think about the poem, in your mind you have the image clear.

    I like the second video because you can see his beautiful paintings : the faces of characters are very expressive and the figures, in my opinion, transmit sadness; this is in agreement with the Romantic Age in which he lived.
    As you can see in the first video, his collections of poems seems a photograph album and I like very much this kind of book.
    Honestly the third video troumbles me, maybe the music is too much disquieting but through his pictures Sheila Graber revealed the famous “Theory of complementary opposite” of Blake.

  17. These two videos are suitable to deal and delineate the figure and the peculiarity of Blake’s poetics.
    By the vision of the two videos emerges an extraordinary mystique and transcendent component of Blake’s personality. The videos fit perfectly with the solemn and sublime tone, almost divine, of his poetics. These effects are favored by the music, very suitable to the topic in object.
    Personally I prefer the first video because the images that are shown are more beautiful and significant compared to those of the second one.
    The first video is more involved and, thanks to the solemn music, the deep and the more lives and colourful images, shows better the essence of the poetics and the figure, in general, of William Blake.

  18. William Blake: a poet, a painter, a drawer and an engraver, what’s a wonderful and complex artist!!!!
    In which way could we teach and explain him without a video??? It’s by showing his “paintings” that we can really understand him because his poems are directly linked with his powerful and beautiful engravings but, be careful, without an opening explanation we couldn’t appreciate his works so the video must follow the lesson!!!
    As I said before, while watching these video (especially the lasts two) students understand why William Blake was so ignored in his time: he was the first Romantic poet!!! He was born in the last period of the Enlightenment when people kept on thinking that reason must explain everything, God doesn’t exist, … and Blake drew the creation of humanity by the intervention of God and he showed Newton so absorbed by his thoughts that he didn’t see the beautiful world around himself; how did people appreciate a man that make fun reason??
    He also resumed the dualism between good and evil, birth and death, creation and destruction of Lucretius that will be used by Leopardi and the other Romantic poets some years later!
    And we must remember that he thought himself as a prophet but we can’t be surprised of it because one topic of Romanticism is the freedom of the genius that lives inside the poet, a resumption of Plato’s philosophy.
    Blake will be appreciate in the twentieth century, as it’s said in the first video, so now we must study his personality and his works also by using modern techniques, like videos!!

  19. In my opinion William Blake’s works are really interesting.
    I can’t say if I find them beautiful, but they are in line with his message “Embraces a world of creativity”. The figures in his paintings are expressive and also particulars.
    Studying the period in which Blake has lived, I could understand that he was a real outsider. His ideas and theories, but also his way of writing are something that I never heard before.
    Reading “The Lamb” and “The Tyger”, I thought that they were really particular, but at the same time fascinating. I also liked his idea of illuminated printing: combine painting with poetry is really genial.
    About the third video I found it alternative. In my opinion there is Blake’s thought in it, but I don’t think that it was the best way to show it. Maybe the idea of rappresenting it with his own paintings was good, but I didn’t like the animation cel. Also the music that Sheila Graber has used wasn’t so effective. However his ideals were well expressed.
    In conclusion William Black’s poetry is really particular and I’m glad that he is been reevaluated in the 60s, because maybe we wouldn’t ever known his works.

  20. Honestly, I had never heard before about William Blake.
    A personality as strong as he must be studied precisely because his intelligence and his genius were out of the ordinary, considering the epoch in which he lived.
    Certainly through the first video you can see how this poet was so great but at the same time misunderstood and unappreciated, just because he was far ahead of his time, in fact, only later were recognized his qualities.

    The second video is interesting because it presented all his paintings, and if they are compared with his works, it is amazing to see how Blake is so good to express what he thinks in two different ways: through PAINTING AND POETRY. In fact, it seemed that the poems “were translated” into paintings or vice versa.
    Few artists were able to have these qualities (even the great Michelangelo Buonarroti was a great sculptor and painter, but at the same time also a writer).
    I liked the second video also for the fact that the images were accompanied by music in the background, because it emphasized more the importance of the images.

    Through the third video (very nice and original) we can understand the idea of Blake. Here is explained the “Theory of complementary opposite.” Like Blake says, we can’t understand what is good if you don’t know what is evil. The same theory applies for “body-mind, reason-imagination, science-religion” etc. (as we said in class). In fact, I share many things that William Blake said, like “without contraries there is no progress”.
    This sentence so short, but at the same time so intense, contains many important messages. 🙂

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