All things in Heaven and Hell
The artwork of William Blake

I studied William Blake’s poetry in grade 12, and while I found his writings haunting and beautiful, if someone had told me he was also a prolific artist, I would have been so much more interested in him. In fact, I had no idea he was an artist until I was given a book of his illustrations a few years later. Characterized as a Romantic or Pre-Romantic artist, to me, Blake is more of an OG metal artist, in that his work invokes the monsters of humanity and the fear of the evil supernatural so often referred to in metal imagery. He depicts Satan and dark angels in human form, demonstrating how darkness exists in humanity instead of as an animal, outside force. His work is extremely unique and in a genre of its own. Biblical imagery makes up the majority of his inspiration, but as opposed to the usual blind reverence shown for Christianity, Blake communicates the sinister atmosphere of judgment that organized religion imposes on its followers. Blake’s last artistic commission was a series of watercolors for Dante’s Divine Comedy in 1826, cut short by his death in 1827. These watercolors embody the macabre spirit of Dante’s work, and Blake captures the suffering souls and sinners to perfection. For a devout man, he certainly had a talent for creating dark and disturbing depictions of punishment and hell. After the jump, check out a selection of Blake’s paintings…

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The Author



Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation webzine and clothing.