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

William Blake

European Art

William Blake was a visionary printmaker, painter, and poet influenced by the Bible as well as the art of Michelangelo. Inspired by the Book of Revelations, he transformed a classical male nude into a seven-headed dragon, identified with Satan. Here, the Great Red Dragon attempts to snatch a woman’s soon-to-be-born son. The frightened woman, praying for divine intervention, has been interpreted as the Virgin Mary, Israel, and the Church.

Max Lambert
Curatorial Insights
Brooklyn Museum Teen Mentoring Initiative
Spring 2016
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
    EXHIBITIONS
    ACCESSION NUMBER 15.368
    CREDIT LINE Gift of William Augustus White
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    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 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 15.368_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 15.368_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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