Blake’s Aniconic Arboreals

“What if God was one of us?” asks singer-songwriter Joan Osborne. It’s actually not that hard to imagine God as a person. Many are familiar with the image of God as the deity appears in Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam: an old, imperious man with flowing hair and beard. For many raised in Judeo-Christian traditions, the portrayal of Alanis Morissette as God in the movie Dogma is as far from that image as the imagination strays. Beyond this narrow anthropomorphism, however, lie countless aniconic representations of divinity.

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Is That a Rock or a Severed Head? Creating Textual Tags for Blake’s Pen and Ink Drawings

The William Blake Archive recently published seventeen pen and ink drawings by Blake that span the majority of his artistic career. As one of the art historians on staff at the WBA, I was tasked with the responsibility of creating XML documents to accompany each of the works—files that we call Blake Archive Documents or BADs. These BADs are incredibly important as they include not only textual descriptions of the drawings but also tagged search terms, which enable the new drawings to be plugged into the existing search function of the WBA.

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