Angel of the Divine Presence Bringing Eve to Adam (The Creation of Eve: "And She Shall be Called Woman) (recto); Sketch for the same (verso)
William Blake (British, London 1757–1827 London)
Watercolor, pen and black ink over graphite
Sheet: 16 3/8 × 13 1/16 in. (41.6 × 33.2 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1906
Not on view
Blake considered the Bible to be the supreme poetic work and here evocatively re-imagined the Old Testament theme of the creation of Eve. Instead of showing the first woman emerging from Adam’s side, Blake presents the couple meeting with ceremonial solemnity. A divine figure prepares to join their hands while a recumbent Adam looks up eagerly as his mate steps down from blue-tinged clouds. Objects in the landscape elaborate the meaning: the grape vines entwined around the tree symbolize marriage; the exotic red and blue plumed birds represent the newly created souls; and the giant oak leaf on which Adam reclines forecasts humankind’s suffering. A lion dozing near grazing lambs at lower right signals the peace of the pre-fallen world. Blake made this finished watercolor for his loyal patron Thomas Butts.
Signature: Signed with monogram at lower left in ink: "WB inv"
Thomas Butts (British, 1757–1845); Thomas Butts Jr., sold at the following; Sotheby's, London, March 26, 1852, lot 157; Richard Monckton Milnes (British, London 1809–1885 Vichy), bought at the preceding; Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe (British, 1858–1948), son of the preceding, sold 1906; Vendor: Carfax & Co. (London), through Roger Eliot Fry
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