Behold Now Behemoth which I Made with Thee, from Illustrations of the Book of Job
William Blake’s engraved illustrations of the biblical book of Job, based on watercolors he made between 1805 and 1810, are considered among his masterpieces. In the prints Blake showed God revealing his powers to Job, who has been struggling to understand the afflictions God has sent him. Biblical quotes and other texts in the margins— which were not part of the original watercolors but, remarkably, were engraved in reverse by Blake directly on the copper plates—amplify the meaning of each of the central images. The artist’s disdain for organized religion and his belief in imagination and the centrality of poetic vision may have drawn him to the story of Job, who followed religious law too literally before having his own spiritual awakening.
In Illustrations of “The Book of Job,” Blake revives a technique of pure line engraving based on the work of Renaissance printmakers such as Albrecht Dürer, whom he revered. Brooklyn’s prints are part of a proof set of the first edition.
Engraving on wove paper
image: 7 15/16 × 6 in. (20.2 × 15.2 cm)
sheet: 13 5/8 × 10 7/8 in. (34.6 × 27.6 cm)
plate mark: 8 5/8 × 6 11/16 in. (21.9 × 17 cm)
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Bequest of Mary Hayward Weir
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