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.
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)
Sheet (with inlay): 21 11/16 x 17 1/16 in. (55.1 x 43.3 cm) (show scale)
Signed bottom right: Monogram "WB inv"
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."
This item is not on view
Gift of William Augustus White
No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
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
overall, 15.368_glass_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.