Relief etching, printed in color and finished with pen and ink and watercolor
sheet: 16 3/4 x 20 3/4in. (42.5 x 52.7cm)
Rogers Fund, 1916
Not on view
A nude and aged Adam, newly aware of his own nakedness and mortality, hangs his head before a fiery chariot bearing the divine maker whom he resembles exactly. For many years, this image was thought to represent Elijah in the fiery chariot. Recently, it has been connected to a passage in Genesis 3:17-19 in which God condemns Adam for tasting the forbidden fruit. The print was made using a unique method of Blake's invention. A plate etched in relief was used to print the design; then colors were painted onto millboard, or a similar surface, and printed onto the sheet like a monotype. Finally, Blake enhanced the print by hand with watercolor and ink.
Signature: Signed lower left: Fresco. WBlake inv
(?) Catherine Blake (British); (?) Frederick Tatham (British); (?) Joseph Hogarth (British), offered ca. 1843 through George Richmond to the following; John Ruskin (British); Mrs. Alexander Gilchrist, by 1863; James S. Inglis (British, Scottish), New York, by 1892; Mrs. Louise Inglis, Princeton, sold 1916 to MMA; Vendor: Mrs. Louise Inglis
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "William Blake," March 29, 2001–June 24, 2001.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 4, 2011–June 12, 2011.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," July 15–September 29, 2014.
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. 21, p. 203.
The Works of William Blake. Exh. cat. Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1876, cat. no. 101.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Drawings, Water Colors, and Engravings by William Blake. Exh. cat. June 1880, cat. no. 16.
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. 23, pp. 209-10.
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Examples of the English Pre-Raphaelite School of Painters...together with a Collection of the Works of William Blake. Exh. cat. December, 1892, cat. no. 205.
William Michael Rossetti The Rossetti Papers, 1862–1870. 1903, pp. 16-17.
John Ruskin The Works of John Ruskin. Sir Edward Tyas Cook, Alexander D. O. Wedderburn, 1909, pp. 32-3 (vol. 36).
Archibald G. B. Russell Catalogue of Loan Exhibition of Works by William Blake Exh. cat. National Gallery of British Art, October-December, 1913, cat. no. 14, pp. 14-15.
Blake Centenary Exhibition. Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1927, cat. no. 8, p. 20 (discusses other versions but not MMA version).
Geoffrey Keynes, George Goyder William Blake's Illustrations to the Bible. William Blake Trust, Clairvaux, 1957, cat. no. 65b, p. 18.
Martin Butlin "The Bicentenary of William Blake" The Burlington Magazine. vol. 100, February 1958, fig. no. 4 (p. 45), p. 42.
Martin Butlin "God Judging Adam" Rediscovered." The Burlington Magazine. 1965, 86-89.
Martin Butlin William Blake Ex. cat., 9 March–21 May. Tate Gallery, 1978, cat. no. 88, ill.
Martin Butlin The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake. Yale University Press, 2 vols., New Haven, 1981, pl. 385, vol. II, cat. no. 295, pp. 161-2.