This visionary English poet, painter and engraver, combined in his art calm Neoclassicism and the storm and the stress of the late eighteenth-century sublime Romanticism. William Blake greatly admired both the art of ancient Greece and Gothic art. Gothic was for him the best style suited to the expression of personal religious emotions, while Classical art exemplified the mathematical, and thus eternal, in a different way. Yet Blake joined neither of the prominent figures of the Age of Reason nor any religious group. He would have been an uneasy member of any group because he treasured the fact that the compositions of many of his paintings and poems were given to him by Spirit vistors in dreams. The importance he attached to these experiences led him to believe that rationalism's search for material explanations of the world stifled the spiritual side of human nature, while the stringent rule of behavior imposed by orthodox religions killed the individual creative impulse.
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