When the Almighty was yet with me, When my Children were about me
William Blake ( British, 1757 - 1827 )
In his series The Book of Job, William Blake adopted the style of medieval illuminated manuscripts, evident in the decorative border filled with pointed arches and emblematic imagery. Here, Job and his wife stand at the bottom corners in a pastoral scene symbolic of their past innocence. On either side, Gothic decorations weave and stretch organically across the page, with peacocks of pride and the parrot of vain repetitions residing on architectural bands. At the top, a cathedral-like tympanum is carved with biblical text and “King Jehovah” written in Hebrew. Blake juxtaposes the image with his own biblical commentary, engaging the reader in the artist’s personal theological interpretation. The primary theme of this Old Testament subject focuses on God’s justice in the face of human suffering, demonstrated through the main character, Job. He is shown in the central panel surrounded by his family, directly imitating the throne of God above Job.
Nicole Myers, DMA label copy, 2018.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Read a biography of William Blake from the Met.
The William Blake Archive
Explore the works of William Blake.
The University of Adelaide
View Blake's illustrations for The Book of Job.
This webpage from Tate Kids helps to teach children about the life and work of William Blake.