William Blake's London: Drawing and Imagination
‘London was to Blake both home and school, both Pandemonium and Celestial City.’ Kathleen Raine
William Blake had a wholly original mind and is recognised as a unique visionary in the history of art. Blake touches us with a simplicity that is strange. T.S. Eliot said his strangeness was merely a peculiar honesty, which, in a world too frightened to be honest, is peculiarly terrifying. At the heart of his art was the role of the imagination, which he saw as essential to the human condition and personal emancipation. Blake was a Londoner, and many of the sources for his art and places associated with his life are around us in the city. By drawing from his work in London collections and visiting sites connected to his life, as well as contemporary urban settings, we will mix a rich fusion of art history, literature, methodology and observational drawing. We will spend some time exploring the transformative process of drawing that is imprinted in Blake’s work, from observation to imaginative elaboration. We will look at the relationship between text and image in Blake’s poetry, and the integration of his visual and verbal aesthetic.
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