As the end of the year draws near, we highlight some of the most beautiful books of 2019, which would make great gifts for the book-lover on your Christmas list…
This list includes picture books, graphic novels, and art / coffee-table books. Some of these books will appear on our Advent calendar of 2019’s Best Books (and no, we won’t reveal here which ones will be on that list)…
Martin Myrone, et al, Editors
An authoritative look at William Blake’s life and enduring relevance as a prophetic artist, poet, and printmaker
William Blake (1757–1827) created some of the most iconic images in the history of art. He was a countercultural prophet whose personal struggles, technical innovations, and revelatory vision have inspired generations of artists. This marvelously illustrated book explores the biographical, artistic, and political contexts that shaped Blake’s work, and demonstrates why he was a singularly gifted visual artist with renewed relevance for us today.
The book explores Blake’s relationship with the art world of his time and provides new perspectives on his craft as a printmaker, poet, watercolorist, and painter. It makes sense of the profound historical forces with which he contended during his lifetime, from revolutions in America and France to the dehumanizing effects of industrialization. Readers gain incomparable insights into Blake’s desire for recognition and commercial success, his role as social critic, his visionary experience of London, his hatred of empire, and the bitter disappointments that drove him to retire from the world in his final years. What emerges is a luminous portrait of a complicated and uncompromising artist who was at once a heretic, mystic, saint, and cynic.
With an afterword by Alan Moore, this handsome volume features many of the most sublime and exhilarating images Blake ever produced. It brings together watercolors, paintings, and prints, and draws from such illuminated masterpieces as Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Europe a Prophecy, and apocalyptic works such as Milton and Jerusalem.