In an inscription beneath his detailed reproduction of the Laocoön, Blake reinterprets the famous Greek sculpture as a copy of an original Hebraic work representing Jehovah and his two sons, Satan and Adam. Other inscriptions surrounding the central design set forth Blake’s interrelated opinions on money, empire, morality, Christianity, and the arts. The central image of the statue may have been executed as early as c. 1815 in connection with Blake’s work on illustrations for Abraham Rees, The Cyclopaedia; or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature. The inscribed texts surrounding the statue were almost certainly added at a much later date, c. 1826-27. Both impressions (A and B) of the single plate, etched and engraved in intaglio, were printed in 1826 or 1827. (Text from the William Blake Archive, with thanks.)
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