Bindman, David. Blake as an Artist. Oxford: Phaidon, 1977.
The fine engravings in Pia Desideria, by Boëce van Bolsvert, drew on theJesuits’ spiritual-sensual interpretation of the techniques of engraving. As Praz observes,
The fixity of the emblematic picture was infinitely suggestive; the beholder little by little let hisimagination be eaten into as a plate is by an acid. The picture eventually became animated with an intense,hallucinatory life, independent of the page. The eyes were not alone in perceiving it; the depicted objectswere invested with body, scent, and sound .... (Praz 1: 156)
Erdman, David. The Illuminated Blake. London: Oxford UP, 1975.
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What made his commitment to religious art so creative and controversial was his injection ofKabbalistic concepts of sacramentalsexuality into his portrayal of the fully incarnated Jesus. He drew on Jewish mystical beliefs concerning the sexual dynamics of themale-female emanations (the Sephiroth) that bodied forth the Divinity, and transformed theChristian all-male Trinity into a male-female divine family. Thus, he argued that the Holy Spirit is female (aChristianized version of the Kabbalists’ Shekhinah, or female potency within God), anddescribed a hieros gamos in which the Holy Spirit is the wife of God and mother of Jesus,the God-Man (the Kabbalists’ microcosmic Adam Kadmon) (illus. 2). Influenced byKabbalistic and Jesuit meditation techniques, he urged the Moravians to focus intently on the bloody wounds ofthe crucified Jesus, which he interpreted in highly eroticized language—i.e., as the centurion’s phallicspear penetrated the vaginal side-wound, new souls were birthed in the gushing blood from this mysticalintercourse. Because all human soulsare female (animas), both men and women can achieve a psychoerotic consummation with Jesus,the divine bridegroom, as they are enfolded into “the sidehole” (a figurative back-to-the-wombexperience). Because Jesus was conceived in a female womb and was born with male genitals, these organs shouldbe honored and utilized sacramentally within human marriage, which reenacts the divine marriage and the sexualreintegration of the God-Man.
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A Collection of Hymns of the Children of God in All Ages . . . Designed Chieflyfor the Use of the Congregations in Union with the Brethren’s Church. London, 1754.
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Atwood, Craig, and Peter Vogt, eds. The Distinctiveness of Moravian Culture:Essays and Documents in Moravian History in Honor of Vernon H. Nelson on His Seventieth Birthday.Nazareth: Moravian Historical Society, 2003.
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Essick, Robert N., and Morton D. Paley. Robert Blair’s The Grave Illustrated by William Blake: A Study with Facsimile. London: Scolar P, 1982.
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—. “Sleeping in the Arms of Jesus: Sanctifying Sexuality in the Eighteenth-Century MoravianChurch.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 8 (1997): 25-51.
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—. “The Mother of God’s People: The Adoration of the Holy Spirit in theEighteenth-Century Brüdergemeine.” Church History 68 (1999): 886-909.
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Freeman, Arthur. An Ecumenical Theology of the Heart: The Theology of CountNicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. Bethlehem: Moravian Church in America, 1998.
The Complete Site for Research - William Hogarth
In Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell, he employed a similar engravingmetaphor of acid eating into plate. He may also have drawn on the Moravians’ iconomystical and antinomiansense of erotic visualization, which reversed the orthodox Christian denigration of the senses and sexuality:
. . . the whole creation will be consumed, and appear infinite, and holy whereas it now appears finite &corrupt.
This will come to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment.
But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul, is to be expunged; this I shall do, byprinting in the infernal method, by corrosives, which in Hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparentsurfaces away, and displaying the infinite which is hid.
If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is: infinite. (E 39)