Blake, William (1757-1827)

The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun

c. 1806-1809


34.3 x 42 cm

This scene reminds of the modern comic-book style. This demon we can hardly take serious. It is so beautiful. Just look how intricate its wings and powerful its tail are. Still it wasn't meant like that. Nowadays we appreciate things like this as an expression of natural strength good for our digestion, and not really as a threat. But it is meant as a contrast here. Mother nature or the receptive of our humanity with it lies with the sun and her culture in her own glory. The terrible and demoniac of manhood stands before it facing away from the witnessing ready to destroy the natural beauty and light of the solar order. We see the conflict of nature and culture as a serious threat. The devil stands and nature has fallen. We have lost the harmony, we have made evil stand and beauty fall down. That was the turn of the 18th century when the philosophy of enlightenment ended in the hell of false authority and war among Christians about the need of democracy, social coherence and equality. Unable to save the individual with this endeavor, the demon of our dark side is internalized. It is definitely there and will stay there as long as our conspiring is against the free self-realization of our original belief in the philosophy of enlightenment and its solar cyclic order of time. What for the future? Blake saw far ahead at the time. He was a visionary.
Brooklyn Museum, New York


Time Art Gallery/hall 2