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Blake - The First Multimedia Artist?
Songs of Innocence first appeared in 1789. Blake completed Songs of Experience five years later, and combined the two sets of poems into a single volume which he called Songs of Innocence and Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul. Although not all the Songs of Innocence have counterparts in Songs of Experience, Blake obviously intended that many of the poems be matched.

Not only did Blake compose the poems, but he prepared his own illustrative engravings by a process he himself developed, inscribed the poems in his own handwriting instead of resorting to movable type, reproduced each engraved page by hand, and either himself tinted, or had his wife tint, each illustration. The result was something comparable to the illuminated manuscripts of medieval times.

Contributed by Gifford, Katya
16 February 2002

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