The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

William Blake British

Not on view

Blake'w watercolor contrasts two groups of young women. Those at left hold full oil lamps and their luminous forms are arranged to resemble a classical low-relief sculpture, whereas their companions at right are agitated, dressed in dark clothing, and lack any source of light. The related parable in Matthew 25:1–4 urges spiritual preparedness: "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps." A trumpeting angel flying overhead signifies that the moment of judgment has arrived.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, William Blake (British, London 1757–1827 London), Watercolor, pen and black ink, brush and wash, over graphite

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