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May 20, 2005

William Blake

Turner has never moved me and Barbara Hepworth, while collectible, only demonstrates why Vorticism was only a backwater of Futurism. There is only one British artist who is truly great.

William Blake is far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced. I feel both elated and embarrassed to say that, because in recent years the critical reputation of the poet, printmaker and radical prophet of the French revolutionary era has been slipping, to say the least. Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell are never likely to be shifted from their place near the heart of English literature. But Blake thought of himself as a visual artist; he illuminated his self-published writings, illustrated Dante and Chaucer, and painted singular oils such as The Ghost of a Flea.

I stopped by the Tate Britain to see if the Flea was on display. Not this time. In storage and so near yet so far. Just as well. I might have been tempted to eat it thereby bringing the tattoo to grim semblance of life.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at May 20, 2005 12:21 AM

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Turner has never moved you? Those blazing landscapes, where the energy of the Industrial Revolution burns through like the sky was made of propane? I can appreciate Blake, but I had a life-changing experience at a Turner show at the AGO when I was younger that's probably one of two or three things that made me want to be a photographer - I knew that no painter could do that anymore.

Posted by: rick mcginnis [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 20, 2005 07:26 AM

All I ever needed to hear from Blake was "hours of folly are measured by the clock" to know his greatness. He is the mystic to Burn's realism.

Posted by: Alan [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 20, 2005 08:35 AM