William Blake (British, 1757–1827)
Watercolor, brush and gray wash, pen and black ink over graphite
14 1/8 x 13 1/16 in. (36 x 33.2 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1914 (14.81.2)
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virginsa call to live in anticipation of the final day of reckoning and salvation (from Matthew 25:113)contrasts five maidens who have prepared for the arrival of their bridegrooms by obtaining oil for their lamps with five others who have squandered their opportunity and therefore miss their marriage feasts. This elegant watercolor, composed within a single plane resembling a classical low-relief sculpture, is the earliest of four versions of the subject to be painted by Blake.