Illustrations of the Book of Job. Plate 12: “I am Young and ye are very Old”. William Blake.

Illustrations of the Book of Job. Plate 12: “I am Young and ye are very Old”.

1825. London: March 8, 1828 (i.e 1825 but published 1826).

Single leaf, recently cleaned.

§ First edition, one of 100 sets printed directly onto Whatman wove with the word “proof” removed. Blake had a long pictorial engagement with the biblical story of Job. This a single leaf from a series of 21 engravings commissioned by John Linnell in 1823 that are generally considered to be Blake's masterpiece as an intaglio printmaker. "Rather than using the customary "mixed method" of preliminary etching followed by engraving, Blake used pure line engraving in the Job plates. Perhaps one of his motivations was to evoke the art of the master engravers of the Renaissance whom Blake greatly admired, such as Albrecht Dürer." (The William Blake Archive).

In the Book of Job, Job and his old friends argue at length over the divine purpose of Job's afflictions. This plate illustrates the moment the youthful Elihu overcomes his respect for his elders and bursts into the conversation to explain why he thinks both sides are wrong (Job 32:6). In Blake's elaborate borders, the figure of Job's Humanity sleeps while soaring angels try to awaken him.

Bentley, Blake Books, 421A. Bindman, Complete Graphic Works of Blake, 625–641C. Item #107781

Price: $1,950.00

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