Satan Smiting Job with Sore Boils 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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Satan Smiting Job with Sore Boils is one of William Blake's works that shows his interest in Job's trials and tribulations. Blake was, however, not contented with the common understandings, which the Biblical story presented as an arrangement between Satan and God to test the status of Job as a man of faith.

Christians also believe that it offered an answer to the hard question of why good people suffer. According to William, Job was undergoing spiritual and material suffering to start his search for one and true God. In this painting, a vengeful Satan is standing upon the prone body of Job. Satan's arms are outstretched, shooting arrows at Job using his right hand while dispensing boils from a vial with his left. Job's hands are slightly lifted off the ground, and his head thrown back in a sign of extreme suffering. His wife is kneeling at his feet and weeping. The background is dramatic yet minimal with its bright setting sun, huge blood-red wings of Satan, and dark swirling clouds.

Satan Smiting Job with Sore Boils epitomises, maintaining faith in the almighty God in spite of all trials, pain, and hardships. The devil is directing the arrows at the senses, and pouring a vial of venereal disease could be a pictorial translation of Wrath of God Syndrome (WOGS). Touch is also affected: Job's palms and soles seem to be pushing his wife away. In this Blake's work, Satan is the stand-in for Cherubic Cupid, whose arrows promote sexual and sensuality union.

It's of interest to pair William's work with The Damnation of Guilty Lovers by Grunewald, in which the devil familiars (the scorpions and snakes) feed on the organs, which were the source of sensuality and sexual pleasure. Blake's first inspiration was the religious teachings and the bible. He would examine and question each aspect of creation in order to find what he thought, truth. He also claimed that his guides and angels directed his thinking and views. William Blake used Ink and tempera on Mahogany to create this art, which he completed c. 1826. It was presented through the Art Fund 1981 by Miss Mary Dodge. Blake had a total of 21 illustrations of the story of Job.

Satan Smiting Job with Sore Boils in Detail William Blake