William Blake was born in London in 1757. He didn't go to school, was apprenticed to an engraver, at 22 he entered to the royal academy. From 1776 he was employed by an engraver and engraving and painting became his main source of income. Blake married Catherine Boucher who assisted him in his work. Started writing poetry, Blake's visionary poetry and art failed to find a sympathetic audience in hi own lifetime. He died in august 1827 but his genius only began to be appreciated towards the end of the 19th century.
His poems instead of painting the book normally he engraved both the words and pictures on copper plates with special technique of his own invention which his called 'illuminated painting'. Each book became a unique work of art, expensive to buy and hard to reproduce. He wrote:
Songs of innocence
Songs of experience
Illustrated the paradise lost of Milton. In songs of innocence most of the poems are about infancy and are written in a childlike way but at the same time introduce prophetic tone and visionary elements. Childhood represents not only a particular age but also a state of the soul, an innocent view of life (he took Rousseau theory of innocence corrupt by civilization).
The lamb (songs of innocence): The lamb is the symbol of innocence, of sacrifice. In the Bible the night before the exodus Jews sacrificed some lambs and they painted the doors of their houses with the Lambs' blood. The angel of death passed but he didn't killed the Jews children while all children of Egyptian were murdered. The image of Lamb is associated with the image of Christ (sacrifice) and the image of God is associated with the image of poet, like God created the Lamb, the poet created poetry. The answer of the poet is: 'who made you?' (who made the lamb), and in the second stanza there is the answer, God created lamb.
The tiger (songs of experience): The tiger reflects the idea of sublime. This image is in contrast with the image of the lamb, but at the same time they are complementary (like the to poems). The opposites can coexist. In this poem God is like a blacksmith who framing a form of energy that already exists. The lamb represent the childhood and the tiger represent the adulthood.