CHAPTER II
COMING OF AGE AND MARRIAGE

THE Royal Academy is a British Institution which we all patronize once a year, and then abuse that we may keep our self-respect. We go, impelled by a sense of high duty; but we presently relax and take our pleasure in Bond Street. In 1778 Bond Street did not lay itself out to encourage revolutionary artists, and Burlington House was not yet finished. The Royal Academy was turned out of Somerset Palace and was still waiting to turn into its new quarters.

Blake, on leaving Basire, immediately joined the Academy and studied in the Antique School under Mr Moser. This was not an auspicious beginning. Moser had scant respect for Michael Angelo and Raphael, while he extolled to the skies the more fleshly works of Le Brun and Rubens. Some of us may wish that Moser had taught Blake to admire Rubens. But an angel from Heaven could not have done that. Clear outline was a necessity to keep him sane; blurred outline always gave him nightmare. Only the mystic who loves the flesh can rejoice in the roly-poly curves and tints of Rubens' fat Venuses. Moser did his best, and being an old man of seventy-three, felt he might advise a young man in his art studies. But Blake had now known for some years what he really liked, and his impetuosity led him to speak to Moser as if their positions were reversed.

-21-

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William Blake: The Man
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 7
  • Contents 9
  • List of Illustrations 10
  • Chapter I- Childhood and Apprenticeship 11
  • Chapter II- Coming of Age and Marriage 21
  • Chapter III- The Blue-Stockings 26
  • Chapter IV- Early Married Life and Early Work 37
  • Chapter V- Wesley, Whitefield, Lavater, and Swedenborg 46
  • Chapter VI - The Rebels 81
  • Chapter VII- Action and Reaction 102
  • Chapter VIII- William Hayley 114
  • Chapter IX- The Big Prophetic Books 131
  • Chapter X- Cromek, Sir Joshua, Stothard, and Chaucer 153
  • Chapter XL- The Supreme Vision 165
  • Chapter XII- Declining Years and Death 169
  • Epilogue 189
  • Index 195
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