Friday, February 12, 2010

An image to imagine



























Image: William Blake, "The Ancient of Days," 1794 (London: BM)

9 comments:

David said...

Is that an architect's square that the figure is pointing to the world below? A Masonic theme?

PAULYR said...

In answer to David, I don't think it's a square, but simply 2 lines coming from the Creator's hand, representing 2 powers, perhaps good and evil.

PAULYR said...

Further info on David's question - the William Blake Archive on the WWW has commentary on this aspect of the image which holds that the figure, with the left hand, is wielding or grasping a compass or divider in the act of creation or circumscribing the creaation.

mac said...

I'm trying to imagine why this image shows the "LEFT HAND" of the Great Architect of the Universe (Ancient of Days) holding a drafting compass and extending it downward into a lower realm (of matter). Where is the "Right Hand of God" which is missing from the image? Wouldn't this symbolism be more suggestive of the Gnostic Demiurge? In the creation of ADAM, GOD extends his "RIGHT HAND" to pass the spark of life to Adam who is created in GOD's image. See this image from link below:

/http://snipurl.com/ud2pe/

mac said...

Creation of Adam image. I hope this link works better than one in my previous post.

href="http://snipurl.com/ud2pe">http://snipurl.com/ud2pe
</

Robert said...

Compare the illustration from the 13th-century "Bible morisalee" (several extant mss.) showing Christ using a great compass to set the foundations of the cosmos: www.wga.hu/support/viewer/z.html

The interesting thing about Blake's illustration, but characteristic of his age and ours, is that here God the Father is seen as the creator of the cosmos rather than God the Son, as often in the Middle Ages.

Remington said...

Perhaps the light/energy extending from the left hand of the Ancient of Days is the second person of the Trinity. If so, then the two lines might represent the two natures of Christ. This seemed like a stretch until I noticed that the beard was being blown by an invisible wind. Perhaps the Spirit/Ruach?

daniel john said...

Such a nice post, it is really interesting, want to admire you, you are really done a nice work, Thanks.


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Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

While this image is often taken to be that of the Christian God (whether Father, Son, Ancient of Days, or otherwise) creating the world, this is instead an illustration of Blake's own mythological demiurge Urizen, creator of the rational (and therefore inferior) world. Blake's placement of the calipers (symbolic of rationalization) in his left (sinister) hand says it all. Blake was unsympathetic toward rationalization, obviously.

Very fun and fitting, April!