William Blake Satan in his Original Glory: ‘Thou wast Perfect till Iniquity was Found in Thee’ c.1805

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Artwork details

Artist
William Blake 1757–1827
Title
Satan in his Original Glory: ‘Thou wast Perfect till Iniquity was Found in Thee’
Date c.1805
Medium Ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 429 x 339 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by the executors of W. Graham Robertson through the Art Fund 1949
Reference
N05892
Not on display

Display caption

This watercolour shows Satan as he once was, a perfect part of God’s creation, before his fall from grace. His orb and sceptre symbolise his role as Prince of this World. It is also an extreme example of the damaging effects of over-exposure to light. The sky was originally an intense blue, now only visible at the lower right edge. The only colours which have survived unaltered are the vermilion red Blake used for the flesh, and red ochre in Satan’s wings. The paper has yellowed considerably. There is no evidence left of any yellow gamboge or pinkish red lakes.

September 2004

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