chapter  8
Engravings, Paintings and Drawings
WithJoseph P. Natoli
Pages 30

This chapter focuses on William Blake's pictorial works and the nature of Blake's composite art. For the emblematists, painting was to be added to poetry, in order to imitate the larger sum of spatial and temporal reality; for Blake, poetry and painting were to be multiplied by one another to give a product larger than the sum of the parts, a reality which might include, but not be limited by, the world of space and time. The best single study of Blake's composite art is W. J. T. Mitchell's. He finds that Blake is not, as Jean H. Hagstrum has argued, totally within or defined by the tradition of ut pictura poesis. Mitchell also points out that one problem in explicating Blake's composite art is that art historians are not familiar with Blake's system and literary people focus on text-related imagery in the designs and not on formal qualities.