Obelisk Art History

Laocoön

William Blake, 1825 – 1827
Laocoön, William Blake
Laocoön, zoomed in
27.6 cmLaocoön scale comparison22.9 cm
See Laocoön in the Kaleidoscope

Laocoön is an Engraving and Etching Print created by William Blake from 1825 to 1827. The image is in the Public Domain, and tagged Political Work, Theory of Religion and Greek and Roman Mythology. Download

The base illustration of this image is William Blake's engraved interpretation of the Laocoon, created in 1815 as part of his series of illustrations for the Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature. Two years later, he re-etched the plate with a variety of scattershot stream-of-consciousness notes, reinterpreting the Greek sculpture as a Hebraic work representing Jehovah and his two sons, Satan and Adam, annotating the plate with his thoughts on money, power, religion. Below the notes are transcribed in no particular order. They are pretty wild.

Laocoön and His Sons -200, Ancient Greece

If Morality was Christianity Socrates was the Savior
יה [Jehovah] & his two Sons Satan & Adam as they were copied from the Cherubim
of Solomon's Temple by three Rhodians & applied to Natural Fact, or History of Ilium
Art Degraded Imagination Denied War Governed the Nations
Good & Evil are Riches & Poverty a Tree of Misery propagating Generation & Death
The Gods of Priam are the Cherubim of Moses & Solomon: The Hosts of Heaven
Without Unceasing Practice nothing can be done Practice is Art
If you leave off you are Lost
The Angel of the Divine Presence
[Angel of Jehovah] מלאך יהוה
ΟΦΙουΧος [Serpent-holder]
HEBREW ART is called SIN by the Deist SCIENCE
All that we See is Vision from Generated Organs gone as soon as come permanent in The Imagination; Considered as Nothing by the NATURAL MAN
What can be Created Can be Destroyed
Adam is only The Natural Man & not the Soul or Imagination
לילית [Lilith]
Satans Wife The Goddess Nature is War & Misery & Heroism a Miser
Spiritual War
Israel delivered from Egypt
is Art delivered from Nature & Imitation
A Poet a Painter a Musician an Architect : the Man
Or Woman who is not one of these is not a Christian
You must leave Fathers & Mothers & Houses & Lands if they stand in the way of Art
The Eternal Body of Man is The IMAGINATION, that is God himself
The Divine Body ישע [Yeshua] JESUS we are his Members
It manifests itself in his Works of Art (In Eternity All is Vision)
The True Christian Charity not dependent on Money (the lifes blood of Poor Families) that is on Caesar or Empire or Natural Religion
Money, which is The Great Satan or Reason the Root of Good & Evil In The Accusation of Sin
Prayer is the Study of Art Praise is the Practise of Art
Fasting &c. all relate to Art The outward Ceremony is Antichrist
Where any view of Money exists Art cannot be carried on, but War only by pretences to the Two Impossibilities Chastity & Abstinence Gods of the Heathen
Read Matthew C X. 9 & 10v
He repented that he had made Adam (of the Female, the Adamah) & it grieved him at his heart
Art can never exist without Naked Beauty displayed
The Gods of Greece & Egypt were Mathematical Diagrams
See Plato's Works
Divine Union
Deriding
And Denying Immediate
Communion with God
The Spoilers say
Where are his Works
That he did in the Wilderness
Lo what are these
Whence came they
These are not the Works
Of Egypt nor Babylon
Whose Gods are the Powers
Of this World. Goddess, Nature.
Who first spoil & then destroy
Imaginative Art
For their Glory is
War and Dominion
Empire against Art See Virgils Eneid.
Lib. VI.v 848
For every
Pleasure
Money
Is Useless
There are States in which all Visionary Men are accounted Mad Men such are Greece & Rome Such is Empire or Tax
See Luke Ch 2.v l
Jesus & his Apostles & Disciples were all Artists Their Works were destroyed by the Seven Angels of the Seven Churches in Asia Antichrist Science
The unproductive Man is not a Christian much less the Destroyer
The Old & New Testaments are the Great Code of Art
SCIENCE is the Tree of DEATH ART is the Tree of LIFE
GOD is JESUS
The Whole Business of Man Is
The Arts & All Things Common
No Secrecy in Art
What we call Antique Gems are the Gems of Aarons Breast Plate
Christianity is Art & not Money
Money is its Curse
Is not every Vice possible to Man described in the Bible openly
All is not Sin that Satan calls so
all the Loves & Graces of Eternity


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Reed Enger, "Laocoön," in Obelisk Art History, Published May 24, 2015; last modified November 06, 2022, http://arthistoryproject.com/artists/william-blake/laocoon/.

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Blake was both an artist and a poet, and he often combined both forms into intensely illuminated texts where tiny figures dance with the words or painted flames engulf the page. This beautiful volume reproduces these visionary works in full color.

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