This work comes from a series of eighty biblical watercolors that Blake made for Thomas Butts, an important patron. It depicts John, the author of the Book of Revelation, and his vision from the first line of chapter 10. The diminutive author, pen in hand, on the island of Patmos and gazes at a "mighty angel . . . clothed with a cloud . . . a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire." The artist based the angel's water-spanning stance on prints of the ancient Colossus of Rhodes and envisioned the seven thunders described in the text as horsemen riding through clouds.
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Title:Angel of the Revelation (Book of Revelation, chapter 10)
Artist:William Blake (British, London 1757–1827 London)
Medium:Watercolor, pen and black ink, brush and wash, over traces of graphite
"And the Angel Which I Saw Lifted Up his Hand to Heaven"
Inscription: Signed with monogram at lower right: "WB inv"
Thomas Butts (British); Benjamin Godfrey Windus (British); Thomas Butts Jr. (British); Sotheby's, London, March 26, 1852, lot 154; Henry George Bohn (British), bought at the preceding; Benjamin Godfrey Windus (British), to the following; Mrs. J. K de Putron, daughter of the preceding, by 1863, sold at the following; Anonymous seller, Christie's, London, March 16, 1912, lot 5, bought by Sabin; Frank T. Sabin (British); Vendor: Frank T. Sabin (British)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," July 29–October 21, 1996.
British Museum, London. "The Apocalypse and the Shape of Things to Come," December 17, 1999–April 24, 2000.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "William Blake," March 29–June 24, 2001.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 10–July 9, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 4–June 12, 2011.
Musée d'Orsay, Paris. "Masculin / Masculin: L'homme nu dans l'art de 1800 à nos jours," September 23, 2013–January 2, 2014.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Innocence and Experience: Selections from the Department of Drawings and Prints," February 9, 2023–May 16, 2023.
William Michael Rossetti "Annotated Catalogue of Blake's Pictures and Drawings." in Life of William Blake. Edited by Alexander Gilchrist, vol. 2, London, 1863, cat. no. 172, p. 229.
William Michael Rossetti "Annotated Catalogue of Blake's Pictures and Drawings." in Life of WIlliam Blake. Edited by Alexander Gilchrist, vol. 2, 2nd enlarged ed., London, 1880, cat. no. 196, p. 242.
William Blake, 1757–1827: A Descriptive Catalogue of An Exhibition of the Works of William Blake Selected from Collections in the United States Ex. cat. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1939, cat. no. 172.
Walter Mehring European Drawings from the Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Portfolio of Collotype Reproductions [Vol. 1: Italian Drawings; Vol. 2: Flemish, Dutch, German, Spanish, French, and British drawings; Vol. 3: "New Series": Italian, Flemish, Dutch, German, Spanish, French, and British drawings]. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 3 vols., New York, 1942–44, cat. no. 65, vol. 2, ill.
Edward Fenton "Word Becomes Image." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.s. vol. 13, no. 8, New York, April 1955, p. 247, ill.
Geoffrey Keynes, George Goyder William Blake's Illustrations to the Bible. William Blake Trust, Clairvaux, 1957, cat. no. 162, p. 46, ill.
Andrew Dickson White Museum of Art, Cornell University William Blake Ex. cat., February-March. 1965, cat. no. 29, ill.
Harvey Stahl, Bruce Daryl Barone William Blake: the Apocalyptic Vision Ex. cat., April 21–May 13. Manhattanville College, 1974, cat. no. 21, ill.
David Bindman Blake as an Artist. Phaidon Press, E. P. Dutton and Company, 1977, fig. no. 123, pp. 164-5.
Martin Butlin William Blake Ex. cat., 9 March–21 May. Tate Gallery, 1978, cat. no. 185, p. 95, ill.
Martin Butlin The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake. Yale University Press, 2 vols., New Haven, 1981, cat. no. 518, p. 368, pl. 579, vol. II.
David Bindman William Blake: His Art and Times. Ex. cat., New Haven, Yale Center for British Art (Sept. 15-Nov. 14, 1982); Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario (Dec. 3, 1982-Feb. 6, 1983). New Haven, Connecticut, 1982, cat. no. 80, pp. 138-9, ill.
The Apocalypse and the Shape of Things to Come. Exh. cat., British Museum, London, December 17, 1999-April 24, 2000. Frances Carey, London, 1999, cat. no. 27, ill.
Guy Cogeval, Ulrich Pohlmann, Xavier Rey Masculin / Masculin: L'Homme nu dans l'Art de 1800 à nos Jours. Flammarion, Paris, 2013.
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