William Blake’s “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun” is a painting that depicts an intense battle between good and evil. The artwork was created as part of a series of works commissioned by Thomas Butts between 1806-1809. It showcases a woman standing on the sun and moon with a crown of twelve stars on her head, being threatened by a seven-headed, ten-horned red dragon representing Satan.
Blake’s depiction of the dragon is unique, as it has ten horns, crowns, and heads, and descends upon the woman. The painting is a symbol of the power of faith to overcome darkness. It is relevant to mention that Blake is considered a visionary artist, and did not draw from life. He relied on the visions that he saw, which can be seen in this artwork.
“The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun” has gained further prominence as it is featured in Thomas Harris’ 1981 novel, “Red Dragon”. In the book, the artwork is used as a central theme, invoking the character’s mind and ultimately being responsible for his horrific acts. Overall, Blake’s artwork is a hauntingly beautiful and thought-provoking piece that has stood the test of time.