Blake’s “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun” is a series of watercolor paintings, created between 1805 and 1810, depicting a scene from the biblical book of Revelation. The paintings depict a red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and its fiery breath and piercing eyes, representing Satan or the forces of evil; and a woman clothed in the sun, surrounded by a halo of light, representing the Virgin Mary or the Church. It is a significant work of Romantic literature due to its powerful use of symbolism, its visionary quality, and its emphasis on the imagination as a source of creativity and inspiration.
The work has been widely recognized as a powerful and evocative image, conveying a sense of overwhelming power and danger. The dragon’s menacing form dominates the painting. At the same time, the figure of the woman suggests a divine and protective presence. The symbolism in Blake’s “Red Dragon” is complex and multi-layered, drawing on both biblical and mythological sources. The dragon itself is a common symbol of evil and chaos in many cultures, while the woman clothed in the sun is a powerful image of purity and transcendence. The painting can be read as an allegory of the struggle between good and evil, or as a commentary on the nature of power and authority.
In the Romantic period, artists and writers sought to transcend the limitations of reason and logic and connect with a deeper, more intuitive mode of perception. Blake’s use of vivid, fantastical imagery in the “Red Dragon” series reflects this Romantic interest in the supernatural, the mysterious, and the sublime. Furthermore, the painting’s emphasis on the struggle between good and evil, and its use of biblical and mythological motifs, are characteristic of Romantic literature’s preoccupation with the grand themes of human existence. The painting invites the viewer to engage with profound questions about the nature of power, morality, and spiritual transcendence.
Finally, Blake’s belief in the importance of the imagination is a central theme of Romantic literature, and it is reflected in his use of symbolic imagery in “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun”. Through his paintings, Blake sought to inspire and awaken the imaginative powers of his viewers, encouraging them to engage with the world in a deeper, more creative way.
In conclusion, Blake’s “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun” is a significant work of Romantic literature that reflects the period’s interest in the supernatural, its preoccupation with grand themes, and its emphasis on the imagination as a source of creativity and inspiration.