William Blake, Job Rebuked by His Friends. 1805. Pen and black ink, gray wash, and watercolor over traces of graphite, The Morgan Library and Museum, New York.
William Blake (1757–1827) was an English romantic poet, printmaker, and painter. Job Rebuked by His Friends is part of a series of 19 watercolors commissioned by Thomas Butts to illustrate the book of Job. Blake would rework this series into a set of 22 engravings that afforded him rare commercial success. In this image, Job kneels, his outstretched palms facing outwards, and looks up toward the heavens. His statuesque wife sits beside him, clutching her knees toward her chest and looking urgently at her husband. On the right side of the composition, three men, seemingly stacked one upon another, point long fingers at Job. Blake used bold lines to outline his figures and the landscape behind them and rich indigo and gold watercolor to fill them in.