Collections: European Art: The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun (Rev. 12: 1-4)

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: "Rocking Beauty" Hobby Horse

    In the past, this child’s rocking horse was often attributed to the influential American architect Philip Johnson. However, recent sch...


    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.


    15.368_SL1.jpg 15.368_large_SL1.jpg 15.368_glass_bw.jpg

    The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun (Rev. 12: 1-4)

    The poet, printmaker, and painter William Blake combined his literary and graphic skills in four provocative and disturbing images devoted to the Great Red Dragon. For this series—produced for his most faithful patron Thomas Butts, a government clerk—Blake drew on chapters 12 and 13 of the Book of Revelations, an apocalyptic text akin to the artist's own prophetic writings.

    In this narrative the Dragon, identified with Satan, schemes to seize the soon-to-be born Redeemer from his mother. Derived from the Virgin Mary of the Gospels, the figure known as the Woman Clothed with the Sun also stands for Israel and for the Church. Blake's threatening Dragon displays powerful musculature as well as its monstrous tail, wings, and horned heads. Subsequent scenes reveal the failure of the Dragon's plan but the emergence of new threats to mankind.

    • Artist: William Blake, British, 1757-1827
    • Medium: Black ink and watercolor over traces of graphite and incised lines
    • Place Made: England
    • Dates: ca. 1803-1805
    • Dimensions: Image: 17 3/16 x 13 11/16 in. (43.7 x 34.8 cm) Sheet (with inlay): 21 11/16 x 17 1/16 in. (55.1 x 43.3 cm)  (show scale)
    • Signature: Signed bottom right: Monogram "WB inv"
    • Inscriptions: Inscribed above the image: "A Woman clothed with the sun, & the moon under her feet, and/upon her head a crown of twelve stars; and behold a great red dragon also." Inscribed below the image at right: "Revns:ch:12th: v 4th:" Inscribed below the image: "And the tail of the great red dragon drew the third part of the stars of/heaven, and did cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the/woman which was ready to be delivered for to devour her child as soon as it was born."
    • Collections:European Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 15.368
    • Credit Line: Gift of William Augustus White
    • Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
    • Caption: William Blake (British, 1757-1827). The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun (Rev. 12: 1-4), ca. 1803-1805. Black ink and watercolor over traces of graphite and incised lines, Image: 17 3/16 x 13 11/16 in. (43.7 x 34.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of William Augustus White, 15.368
    • Image: overall, 15.368_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • Record Completeness: Best (89%)
    advanced 110,671 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."

    Please review the comment guidelines before posting.

    Before you comment...

    We get a lot of comments, so before you post yours, check to see if your issue is addressed by one of the questions below. Click on a question to see our answer:

    Why are some objects not on view?

    The Museum’s permanent collections are very large and only a fraction of these can be on exhibition at any given time. Sometimes works are lent to other museums for special exhibitions; sometimes they are in the conservation laboratory for study or maintenance. Certain types of objects, such as watercolors, textiles, and photographs, are sensitive to light and begin to fade if they are exposed for too long, so their exhibition time is limited. Finally, as large as the Museum is, there is not enough room to display everything in the collections. In order to present our best works, collections are rotated periodically.

    How do I find out how much an object in the Brooklyn Museum collections is worth?

    The Museum does not disclose the monetary values of objects in its collections.

    Can you tell me the value of an artwork that I own?

    The Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. To determine the value of an object or to find an appraiser, you may contact the Art Dealers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

    I own a similar object. Can you tell me more about it?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you own and as much information about it as you can, and we will provide any additional information we are able to find. Please note that research in our files is a lengthy process, and you may not have a response for some time.

    How would I go about lending or gifting a work to the Museum or seeing if the Museum is interested in purchasing a work that I own?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you would like us to consider, as well as all of the information you have about it, and your offer will be forwarded to the appropriate curator. The Brooklyn Museum collections are very rich, and we have many works that are not currently on exhibition; because of this, and because storage space is limited, we are very selective about adding works. However, the collection has become what it is today through the generosity of the public, and we continue to be grateful for this generosity, which can still lead to exciting new acquisitions.

    How can I get a reproduction of a work in your collection?

    Please see the Museum’s information on Image Services.

    How can I show my work to someone at the Museum or be considered for an exhibition?

    Please see the Museum’s Artist Submission Guidelines.

    Why do many objects not have photographs and/or complete descriptions?

    The Museum's collection is very large, and we are constantly in the process of adding photographs and descriptions to works that do not currently have them, or replacing photographs that have deteriorated beyond use and descriptions that are minimal or out of date. This is a long and expensive process that takes time.

    How can I find a conservator or get advice on how to treat my artwork?

    Please visit the American Institute for Conservation, which has a feature on how to find a conservator.

    I have a comment or question which is not included in this list.

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.