The Creation of Light: William Blake and Francisco de Holanda 

Fiat Lux: The Perception of Spacetime and the Fallen Imagination 

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Introduction: Cosmos as Masterpiece

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Francisco de Holanda, self-portrait (c. 1573), the artist presenting his book

As many critics have pointed out, the remarkable work of the Portuguese Renaissance artist Francisco de Holanda “seems to predict another singular genius: William Blake, whom it predates by two centuries” (Michael Benson, Cosmigraphics: Picturing Space Through Time). Equally remarkable is the fact that many of Holanda’s most astonishing paintings were only discovered a few decades ago. As Benson notes in his compelling examination of visual depictions of the creation of the universe and of Holanda’s work in particular (a rarity in itself in Western academic studies, as there is still almost nothing written about this pioneering figure):

Perhaps the most extraordinary set of pictures depicting space-time’s origins dates from 1573. Discovered in the mid-20th century in an obscure notebook in the National Library of Spain, it was painted by the Portuguese artist and philosopher Francisco de Holanda, a student and lifelong friend of Michelangelo.

The Biblioteca Nacional de España’s wonderful facsimile of de Holanda’s forgotten and unknown sketchbook, De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines

Francisco de Holanda had been sent to Italy by an explicit order of the king of Portugal, to learn the new art: the Renaissance. As luck would have it, Michelangelo was the artist who taught him for two years and turned him into one of the most outstanding Renaissance artists from the Iberian Peninsula when he returned in 1540. As the Biblioteca Nacional de España remarks, in their wonderful facsimile of this forgotten and unknown sketchbook, De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines, “Michelangelo’s influence is obvious; the first thing Francisco de Holanda painted was the creation of the world, inspired in what he could examine in the Sistine Chapel still unfinished.”

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Holanda’s inspiration: Michelangelo’s The Separation of Light from Darkness (c. 1512), the first of nine central panels that run along the centre of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The geometrical and asymmetrical panel seems merely to be the frame or structure through which this moment of creation or separation takes place, or is occurring.

Among Holanda’s surviving books of drawings, De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines is undoubtedly the most important. Over thirty years – from 1543 to 1573 – Holanda sketched and painted designs intended to portray the history of the world according to the bible. It is one of the treasures of the National Library of Spain and is available online in full (150+ folio sketches, 15 of them coloured).

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Circles and Triangles: Inside the Head of God 

Holanda was fascinated by the geometry of the cosmos, and in particular the triangular form and its interplay with the circle. This fascination is perhaps nowhere more evident than in his startling – and very Blakean in many ways – image of “The First Day of Creation”. The image seems to capture not only the Biblical or spiritual moment of the first manifestation of “light” (through the divine “fiat”, the Word of God), but also the creation of light as the effect of a geometrical/mathematical process or structural relationship – as a sort of byproduct rather than a product.

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The First Day of Creation, by Francisco de Holanda (1545). Note the placement of the triangle within the Circle, suggesting lines of force, and the movement from a single point (God the Father) to an initial linear polarity (the principle of necessary contraries), to a generative third (the dialectical synthesis, or Aufhebung in Hegel’s system of generation). Also the repetition of the idea of trinity in the three triangles, pointing downwards in this image to a central point. Seen laterally, the image resembles the focal line of an Eye. Indeed, from this perspective, the geometries above look rather like projections of the human brain. The image captures not only the creation of light but the relationship been form and non-form: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Here we see those waters: a generative chaos out of which the precision and dominance of geometries of light can assert themselves or themselves be seen.

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Going Down: The Ancient of Days, by William Blake (c. 1802). Note how Blake includes both the circular form and the triangular shape, here inverted like compasses in order to further emphasise the idea of creation as Separation. Blake associates the figure doing this creating or dividing not with the true ‘God’ but with the Urizenic rational imposter (the “Emissary” rather than the “Master” in McGilchrist’s metaphor). His depiction of this figure contained within the Circle, rather than containing it, suggested the limited as well as limiting function and nature of this “God”. As Blake elsewhere satirises the geometrical obsession of post-Platonic rationalists, “If you have form’d a Circle to go into /Go into it yourself, & see how you would do”. Blake would later draw Newton, the arch geometer and mathematician, in the same pose, doing the same activity.

Literally, fiat lux would be translated as “let light be made” (fiat is the third person singular present passive subjunctive form of the verb facio, meaning “to do” or “to make”). This allows us to see the creation of light less the result of an active God, or a God revealing itself through this medium into this world, but rather as the indirect result of God’s sanction of another or ulterior – perhaps even more fundamental – generative process at work in the dynamics of the universe. (Indeed, it is hard to imagine triangles themselves propagating). God, in this reading, merely “allows” this light “to be made” (this reading would fit in many ways with that of Holanda’s contemporary, the German mystic Jacob Boehme – see the previous blog on this website for an exploration of how he saw the principle of “Light” emerging from, and as a necessary contrary to, a prior “Darkness” or “Fire” – the Ungrund, or “God the Father” as it’s sometimes known in more exoteric traditions.

Holanda represents the intelligible reality of the Holy Trinity through a “hypothetical” syntax of geometrical figures. He insisted on the contrast between the ideal plane, the incorporeal form, and the “imperfect copy in the terrestrial zone” (c.f. the “three principles” or “three worlds” of Boehme), and in this his visual language demonstrated an intriguing mixture of Neoplatonism, Christian Kabbalah, and Lullism (named after Ramon Llull, the Catalan mystic who invented a philosophical system known as the Art, conceived as a type of universal logic to “prove” the truth of Christian doctrine to interlocutors of all faiths and nationalities. The Art consisted of a set of general principles and combinatorial operations. It is illustrated with diagrams).

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More triangles. Like Blake, Holanda fascinatingly combines the geometric with the bodily and human, as in this startling image of The Creation of Man, from De aetatibus mundi imagines. The Pythagorean form is pointing upwards this time, perhaps suggesting the reflection of God’s geometries and knowledge back at Him through the human mind (microcosm; or ‘Adam’). Note also that terrific Vortex whirling up between the earth and the heavens, which rather prefigures Descartes’ famous theory that the material particles in space moved in vortices, producing sun and stars; the centrifugal particles produced radiating light, and so forth; until the astronomical universe was created.

Like many others of the period (from Galileo to Giordano Bruno and Jacob Boehme), Holanda saw the manifest world (sometimes called “the Creation”, or “Nature” – the world of appearances and representation) as exactly that – a manifestation only of a far deeper, hidden world. This was the world of processes, principles, and forms – hence his attraction to formal and mathematical or geometrical systems, as a way of uncovering or mediating between God’s will or mind (on the one hand) and the world we see and experience (on the other).

His paintings therefore seek to provide a link between Nature (the pure mirror of the “Creator”, or Ein Sof) and the eternal forms of God. Whereas Michelangelo was busily covering the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with vast images of the Creation in terms of human bodies, and human forms – “God Creating Adam” being the central focal point of this understanding of the macrocosm – Holanda instead converted this language into the more abstract and rational principles of geometrical relationships.

This is of importance when it comes to comparing his work with Blake’s. As noted, several critics and commentators have remarked on the striking resemblances between their work. Contemporary Portuguese artist Domingos Isabelinho, for example, writes that “Francisco de Holanda is a William Blake avant la lettre”; while Gaudiya Vaishnava guru Swami Bhaktipada closely relates Holanda to Blake in his edited collection, The Bible Illuminated: Illuminated Scriptures of the World (1994).

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The Status of Geometry 

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The triangles do not draw themselves: behind every ratio there is a relationship. The rationalising mind only sees the ratio though, and fancies that the all. “In ignorance to view a small portion & think that All,/ And call it Demonstration” (Jerusalem 65:27–28).

But there is one profound difference between the two. Whereas Holanda sees the underlying geometries of the universe and space time as revealing something fundamental about the nature of the perceived world, Blake saw them as revealing something about the nature of the perceiver of that world.

For Blake, such rationalising abstractions were the powerful products or reflections of implicit psychological processes at work. In that sense, and with a neat reversal of Plato’s simile of the cave, geometry itself is seen as the true Shadow world. The deification of geometrical forms in certain Urizenic cultures (such as those of Ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, or the European Enlightenment) might therefore be more properly understood as a cognitive reflection rather than an insight into the deep nature of reality. What was being revealed in these systems were the powers and programs of the left hemisphere world itself, through its desire to see everything in terms of its own operating system – a world of ratios, of quantifiable, measurable and permanent objects, and linear and lifeless topographies. The celebration of the Logos was in that sense the veneration of that side of the human brain to dominance – to “Godhead”.

Tho in the Brain of Man we live, & in his circling Nerves.

Tho’ this bright world of all our joy is in the Human Brain.

Where Urizen & all his Hosts hang their immortal lamps

– Blake, The Four Zoas 11:14–17

As Blake understood with remarkable acumen, Urizenic consciousness is utterly obsessed with ideas of order, symmetry, fixity, ratios, perfection, stability, purity, light, geometry. Urizen does not venerate, for example, the implicit (the dark), the bodily, the ambiguous and paradoxical, or the deep flowing reverberational nature of reality.

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God Blessing the Seventh Day, by Blake (c. 1803–05). This is what Holanda would have seen in the perfect geometric dead circle if he had only looked closer. Beneath the form there was the Form. The “seventh day” wasn’t a date, or a day, or a measurement of time. It was the revelation of an aspect of an underlying Being, just as (even in Pythagorean systems) “seven” wasn’t and isn’t a quantitative number but a qualitative or archetypal stage.

For Blake therefore, beneath the manifestation were the geometries (as Plato intuited), but beneath the geometries were the deeper imaginative processes, and these can only be understood as relational, and above all in metaphors centred on the human. This is after all the key point of all Blake’s work: to open our eyes to “the fourfold vision”, in which things stop being “things” – stop being “natural” or material objects in space, stop being unreal shadows of some abstracted mathematical or geometrical world (Blake repeatedly satirises and challenges this hyper left-brain aspect of Plato’s doctrine of Ideal Forms), and start being alive.

Those who see only the Geometries, to paraphrase an acute observation of Blake’s, see only themselves. As McGilchrist explains, in his fascinating gloss on this idea of Blake’s:

He who sees the Infinite [looks outward to the ever-becoming with the right hemisphere] in all things sees God. He who sees the Ratio only [looks at the self-defined world brought into being by the left hemisphere] sees himself only [the left hemisphere is self-reflexive]” (McGilchrist, The Master and His Emissary)

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The left hemisphere hall of mirrors. In The Four Zoas Blake has some fun in pointing out how strangely coincidental it is to these subsequent scientists (“the Sons of Urizen”) that the movements of the furthest reaches of the universe seem to operate according to those same laws of mathematics and geometry contained deep within their own brains: “Trapeziums Rhombs Rhomboids Paralellograms. triple & quadruple. polygonic/ In their amazing hard subdued course in the vast deep”.

Scratch the surface of the world and its beautiful forms, and you get structures and patterns and ratios and geometries and numbers. This is the world, just below ordinary consciousness, that many people on psychedelic drugs also seem to gain access to and mistake its revelations for something profound, rather than for simply an initial stage of pealing back the covers. Graham Hancock, for example, recounts his experience on DMT:  “BAM! I was projected through it into some strange, pristine geometrical space on the other side of the wall” (Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind). What Hancock is “seeing’ here is the operating system of his own way of seeing, and it’s no surprise to learn that on this level he encounters “machine-line beings” or mechanical elves, like in a “computer programme” – the imaginative forms that his underlying human consciousness generates to reflect back to him, half mockingly, his rather mechanical and geometrical obsessions.

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Comparison of entopic phenomena with elements of the rock art of the San, the Coso, and of Upper Palaeolithic. Graham Hancock uses this comparison to suggest that the sort of zig-zags and geometries he gets on DMT trips resemble these rather abstract early cave art drawings. He might be right – but not because either reveal something profound about the universe, but because they reveal something profound about the newly emerging abstract, rational, linear mind that was now dominating our perception of it. As Lewis-Williams and Dowson suggest, this early rock and cave art of the later Palaeolithic (about 40,000 to 10,000 BC – note also the link with rocks and stones, Urizen’s favourite symbol for itself) coincided with the time when homo sapiens had developed abstract thinking, observing that the art was therefore characterised by geometric figures such as dots, circles, lines and curves. As Nick Holt explains, “their theory in a nutshell was that, due to hard-wired neurophysiology, various stages of altered states reveal similar geometric shapes (entoptic phenomena). All humans, experience similar images and vortex-like tunnels, sometimes followed by a similar level of immersion in a wholly ‘other’ visionary realm of hallucinations.”

This is rather the same as the reality that Holanda, and indeed Galileo, sees. For theirs was also a rational universe, made by a rational God, and observable by a rational mind. “It is written in mathematical language,” Galileo affirmed, “and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word, and without which one wanders in vain in a dark labyrinth” (Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, 1632).

It was Blake’s genius to see beyond the ratios. Few writers and thinkers are brave enough to take on Galileo and Newton and Plato. But Blake was, and this was perhaps because he could so clearly see where they were all going wrong, and believed he had a duty to correct their vision (rather like he corrected Milton and Swedenborg – not to diminish them but on the contrary, to try and preserve the deep insights they contained, and cleanse them of their surface errors). In particular, he seems to have had, from his earliest youth, an extraordinarily clear and cogent understanding of the nature, and limitations, of Rationality – the God of his Age (the “Age of Reason”), which had become by then the centrepiece, or altarpiece, of the new Logos-centric religions and philosophy that now dominated Western culture.

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The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, or rather of Reason and Energy. Once they re-integrate, the rational surfaces of things melt away and the underlying spirit of the forms is revealed: “melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the infinite which was hid”.

Thus in the middle of the very Age of Reason, in the century when Newton himself died, Blake was able to correct their distortions:

All Bibles or sacred codes, have been the causes of the following Errors.
1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul.
2. That Energy, call’d Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call’d Good, is alone from the Soul.
3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.

But the following Contraries to these are True.
1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that call’d Body is a portion of Soul discern’d by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age.
2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
3. Energy is Eternal Delight.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, italics added.

He was just thirty-three when he wrote these lines. In them he undoes virtually every system of orthodox religious and orthodox materialistic thinking in his culture (both systems, he saw, being rooted in the Urizenic values and programs of the left hemisphere). He saw that “Reason” was not simply “Good”, and that it was not the source or foundation of things but simply the “bound or outward circumference” of things. What Newton and Holanda were drawing, in these terms, were simply the husks, the burial clothes – the retrospective boundaries to the infinite Energy and life that actually drives creation.

Behind the ratios, as Blake saw, lay the relationships:

To my Friend Butts I write
My first Vision of Light,
On the yellow sands sitting
The Sun was Emitting
His Glorious beams
From Heavens high Streams
Over Sea over Land
My Eyes did Expand
Into regions of air
Away from all Care
Into regions of fire
Remote from Desire

The Light of the Morning
Heavens Mountains adorning
In particles bright
The jewels of Light
Distinct shone & clear –
Amazd and in fear
I each particle gazed
Astonishd Amazed
For each was a Man
Human formd. Swift I ran
For they beckond to me
Remote by the Sea
Saying. ‘Each grain of Sand
Every Stone on the Land
Each rock & each hill
Each fountain & rill
Each herb & each tree
Mountain hill Earth & Sea
Cloud Meteor & Star
Are Men Seen Afar.’

Now I a fourfold vision see,
And a fourfold vision is given to me;
‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And threefold in soft Beulah’s night
And twofold Always. May God us keep
From Single vision & Newton’s sleep!

– Letter to Thomas Butts, 2nd October 1800; letter to Butts, 22 November 1802

Screen Shot 2018-09-09 at 01.05.57The Annunciation to the shepherds. Illustration for the poem by Milton On the morning of Christ's Nativity

“What it will be Questiond When the Sun rises do you not see a round Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty” (Blake, A Vision of the Last Judgment). We lost this vision when Galileo ascended into the Brain of Man. Note the triangular pyramids at the bottom of the picture, always associated with Egypt and therefore mental slavery and captivity in Blake’s work.

Here, the vision is all about light (“My first Vision of Light”, “The Light of the Morning”), but the light is merely the medium, not the message. The light allows a deeper, “fourfold” vision to unfold  – not merely the “Single vision” of Newtonian mechanics. What lies at the heart of this vision, for Blake, as for Boehme, was love – was the heart of God itself. Once we see with the heart as well as with the head – that is, with all the four Zoas (the intellectual, imaginative, bodily and emotional systems of human perception), we see reality – we see the intellectual, imaginative, bodily and emotional nature of the world, in which relationships and ratios and patterns are not merely understood “rationally” or geometrically, but fully, humanly.

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Ta-da! Portrait of the Rational Ego as the luminous Sun: Satan in his Original Glory, by Blake (c. 1805). Solar consciousness elevates itself to the centre of the World.

The “Creation of Light” therefore, for Blake, was not really the interesting or important point of the Book of Genesis. Urizenic Rationality venerates Light because it is its means to power and is a symbol of itself – the egoic solar rationality that Jung equates with rational consciousness itself:  “consciousness, whose symbol is the sun” (Mysterium Coniunctionis).  As Jungian analyst Edward Edinger observes:

Light represents consciousness. All peoples have myths of creation which depict it as the creation of light. Such myths refer to the creation of the ego which is the light of consciousness born out of the darkness of the unconscious. (Ego and Archetype: Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche)

You can see why the “creation of light”, and sun worship more generally, is so popular in our hyper Urizenic egoic worlds. The fiat lux is the “ta-da” moment for the Ego. We can see this Urizenic (left-brain) veneration for its objective correlative in both orthodox religious traditions – from the worship of the Aten in ancient Egyptian religion to the “Solar Christos” of Western traditions (converting Jesus into a sort of Mithraic-Apollo-Horus type figure – all synonyms for Urizen, the “prince of Light” as Blake often calls him) – to the supposedly secular and scientific traditions, such as the period of the Enlightenment (the clue is in its name). Thus, as Alexander Pope – the go-to versifier for the Age of Reason – exclaimed:

Nature and Nature’s Laws lay hid in night:

God said, Let Newton be – And all was light.
– Alexander Pope, Epitaph for Sir Isaac Newton (1735)

Nor was it any surprise that Newton made his name through the study of “optics” – the study of the Light he so venerated and depended upon – or indeed “gravity”, through the retrospective study of the geometries of the planets. As Alexander Pope’s reverential, indeed hagiographic, lines suggest, in the eighteenth century Newton could be spoken of as a kind of Messiah, a divine envoy who literally shed light upon the mysteries of the natural world. Later in the century, the great French philosopher Voltaire would remark, “we are all now disciples of Newton”. They were all “asleep”, Blake gravely noted, intent on reducing the divine relationships and character to straight lines, parabolas, and ratios.

We lost more than we gained with Newton’s Single Vision.

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Narrow focus. The crucial thing about Newton was not what he saw, but what he didn’t see.

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Post Script

This post has concentrated on the differences between Blake and Holanda, especially with regard to the status of geometry in their apprehensions of spiritual activities, such as the creation of Light.  But it’s their resemblances that are so striking and galvanising. Perhaps no other artist than Holanda compels you to really look at his images, drawing you in both by their astonishing beauty and their intriguing concepts and unexpected juxtapositions – they are rather like a trying to work out an ingenious puzzle, and perhaps thereby fulfil the remit of marrying heaven and hell, the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

Below are a few of his most astonishing scenes, with images from Blake where they recall a likeness.  It is interesting to speculate on where these similarities come from – their shared interest in combining image with text (relatively unusual in art of the period); their interest in both the human and the geometric dimensions to spiritual and material processes ; their vibrant and affecting coloration, which seems to speak of deep psychological responses (the pinks and blues of Holanda, for example, signifying contrary aspects of “God”).

In A Vision of the Last Judgement, Blake observed:  “If the Spectator could Enter into these Images in his Imagination approaching them on the Fiery Chariot of his Contemplative Thought … then would he arise from his Grave”. These images – both from Blake and Holanda – are exactly those Chariots, portals through which we might pass to access the infinite and the eternal.

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The Creation of Adam, by Holanda. Note how the body of Adam is lying stretched out on the ground, almost vegetating. The divine “creation” of Adam – as with Blake’s similar Elohim Creating Adam – is a rather harrowing and alienating experience. But notice also how his heart is shown, a vital organ, and how its colour reflects the rosiness and vitality of the upper world. The beautiful, beatific, face that gently smiles down from above, is in fact part of a Trinity of faces, another familiar Blakean motif, suggesting the different aspects or ‘faces’ of God. Notice also the shining compasses on the right of the image, and the contrast between the fires on the left and the waves on the right – Blake frequently divides his illustrations into these elements, suggesting the underlying contrary states of existence.

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Plate 24 from Blake’s Jerusalem The Emanation of The Giant Albion. “On the ark, and conforming to its shape, a human-faced creature, facing forward, lies prone(?) with outspread arms tapered like wings—perhaps the human form of the dove of the Holy Ghost” (Blake Archive). The resemblances with Holanda’s picture above are striking: the division of the plate into text below and image above (itself perhaps connoting the relationship between the right-hemisphere visual and the left-hemisphere verbal); the face appearing over an ark-like formation, a crescent disc surrounding a central human face.

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Plate 37 from Blake’s Jerusalem. Chiefly of interest here for the remarkable similarity of the figures lying prone and horizontal, as if dead or asleep, seemingly enrooting themselves in the vegetative or ‘natural’ world. To be natural is to be asleep. But there’s also the sun, the crescent-shape moon, the stars – Albion’s starry head that has crashed and splintered through his subjugation to the rational (Spectral) principle; and the same winged, boat-like form at the top, on which Albion rests his right foot.

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The Creation of Eve, by Holanda. What emerges out of the sleep of the Divine Vision is the Representation of the Imagination, now conceived to be a separate entity or world, the projecting, animating aspect of active imagination.

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The Creation of Eve, from Blake’s Illustrations to Milton’s Paradise Lost (the Linnell Set, c. 1822). The Sleep of Adam and the Creation of Nature were one and the same event. Here we see the origin of the subject-object split within the psyche, and the belief that we are separate from the world. Note the dominance of blue coloration again – always a rather cold, rationalising colour in Blake.

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The Angel of the Lord, by Holanda. Heart, loins, feet, hands – a cross formation of the central driving forces or instincts of the created body, here pulsing with life. This angelic figure is not passive and peaceful so much as crackling with energy and life, its multiple Ezekiel-like wings seeming to be able to transport it through numerous dimensions simultaneously.

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Ezekiel’s Wheels, by Blake (c. 1803-5). Like Holanda, Blake seeks to capture the four-dimensional quality of the description of these multi-faceted, multi-headed, “angels” in biblical accounts of these beings. Indeed, “angels” may itself signify entities that can cross between temporal and spatial domains, hence are “messengers”, or spacetime metaphors.

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The Creation of Day and Night, by Holanda. As Michael Benson notes, “Holanda depicts a geometry of turning forms set in motion by God’s luminescent command. A giant sun pinions tiny Earth in a shadow-casting ray. While this work also vibrates with precursor elements to 20th-century avant-garde art, it contains an even more remarkable insight: Although the sun nominally rotates around Earth — the old geocentric universe of Aristotle and Ptolemy — in fact it dominates the picture, suggesting that the artist has subliminally grasped that it is the true center of our planetary system”. Also significant is that the ‘fiat lux’ seems to be one more of sound than of words: the suggestion that light was the emanation not of a verbal command (“let there be light!”) but rather the byproduct of an auditory movement, focused on the mouth (as God’s “breath” – the deep vibrational sound that, as in Boehme’s system, generates all forms). This would again nicely de-centre “Light’ itself as the divine movement, and instead put the emphasis on the deeper invisible and implicit. As Hamblem notes in her book on Blake, “sound is the architect of form. We know this in our age through the invention of instruments which store chaotic particles, through vibrations, to arrange themselves in both geometric and floral shapes.” Sound – God’s “word” or resonance – transforms the underlying ” chaos” or sea of total potentiality into particular imprints, shapes, and living (breathing) forms. Similarly in Boehme’s system, the “beginning of the external world” was through the emergence of that world as a vibration of God: “for nature has given to everything its language according to its essence and form, for out of the essence the language or sound arises, and the fiat of that essence forms the quality of the essence in the voice or virtue which it sends forth, to the animals in the sound, and to the essentials in smell, virtue, and form.”

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Job and His Family Restored to Prosperity, from Blake’s Illustrations to the Book of Job (c. 1805). That is, Job is restored to music, to God’s frequency: the relational, reverberative “fiat” in which we all play a part.

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