Job's Evil Dreams William Blake Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The name William Blake occupies a special place in the history of Western artwork. Blake was a talented artist whose work mainly revolved around visual and literary arts.

Job's Evil Dreams is a pen and black ink watercolour painting by William Blake in 1825. It shows Job's sufferings and dreams as per William's understanding.

The painting shows five significant figures. One, perceived to be Job, is sleeping face up with a cloth on his lower body (from waist to the knees). He is raising his hands in protest of whatever is happening. Just above him, another creature appears to protect Job using its hand. The other hand points to some stone tablets with scriptures. Viewers perceive the stone tablets as the Word of God. This creature has beautiful hair and feet that look like hooves. There is also a scaly snake wrapped around this creature from top to bottom. The snake’s head is at par with the creature’s elbow, while the tail is at the feet.

Closely looking at the scripture tablets, you can see bright lines that seem like bright light protecting the creature and the scriptures. Between Job and the creature above is a block that looks like a mountain. It shows the different worlds between Job and the creature. Job is lying on his wooden bed, and viewers can see three creatures below Job. They have scaly faces and seem angry. One creature holds Job's feet to the bed while the other holds him down by his waist and thigh area. They seem determined to pin and drag him down. The third creature has a chain in its hands, which are close to Job's face. They are in flames and perceived as hell.

The Bible story of Job has many teachings to the viewers. He was a good man who was tested to illustrate the relationship between the existence of God and the evil of suffering. According to Blake, Job falls under the devil's spell, and he dreams of a clove hoofed creature. Even when his friends (Elihu and Eliphaz) discourage him and ask him to abandon God, Job’s faith still prevails. He holds his faith in the Lord.

Looking at Blake's work, you can tell that he loved engraving, using innovative poetry, painting, and printmaking. He had a keen eye to interpret Biblical stories, political stories, and social climate expressions. Today, he is celebrated for portraying a strong sense of independence in his works. Job's Evil Dreams shows what William Blake thought of Job's sufferings in the Bible. It sits at Morgan's Blake Library and Museum and attracts thousands of viewers every year.