William Blake: The ancient of days (1794)

(British Museum, London, UK)

A famous print by the English artist William Blake (1757-1827). This piece is the frontispiece to the 1794 book Europe, a Prophecy by William Blake. Depicted is the character Urizen, a god-like being who is the embodiment of conventional reason and law in William Blake's complex mythology. Urizen is crouching while his outstretched hand holds a compass over the darker void below - measuring out the material universe and imposing a rational order on the world. The title 'the ancient of days' is one of God's titles in the Book of Daniel: "As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze." (Daniel 7:9). Piece from 1794.