More about Death of the Strong Wicked Man
We’re lucky this engraving by William Blake depicts imagery of a dying man and his spirit, because now we get to see this muscular hunk from all angles.
And pardon me for being crass, but that soul looks great as he’s leaving. If you can tear your eyes away from the killer abs and butt that doesn’t quit, you’ll notice this is a less than happy scene. Two mourning women look on in anguish at the “wicked” man (wicked hawt) as life leaves his rock hard body. The embodiment of his soul flying out the window throws up his hands in a gesture that seems to say, “Eff this! I’m out!”…in my professional opinion.
The work was originally published as an illustration to a poem called “The Grave” by Scottish poet Robert Blair. Blake sort of saved Blair’s reputation because before the illustrations, which accompanied an edition that was published 60 years after the original, no one was particularly fond of his morbid poem.
Blake got some heat, too, for doubling up on the hot bods. Critics scoffed at the depiction of the soul as identical to the mortal body…because I’m sure they’d seen a bunch of real souls before. Lucky for us it’s double the pleasure, double the fun in these rather gorgeous poetic illustrations.