In “‘The Most Obscure and Most Angelic of All the English Lyrical Poets,’” my essay for The Reception of William Blake in Europe, I dealt with the works of one contemporary artist from Croatia—Zdenka Pozaić—and two from Serbia—Simonida Rajčević and Aleksandra M. Jovanić—who were influenced by Blake. Pozaić (b. 1940) is a graphic artist who in 2003 created The Crystal Cabinet, an artist’s book based on a Croatian translation of Blake’s poem of the same name. Rajčević (b. 1974) is an artist specializing in drawings who in 2010 used two works by Blake—“The Ancient of Daysˮ and Nebuchadnezzar—as part of an atmospheric installation titled Tamna zvezda (Dark Star), which also included quotations from Blake and other artists. Finally, Jovanić (b. 1976), a digital artist, in 2011 created an internet-based form centered upon a Serbian translation of “A Poison Tree.ˮ Each project, although different, reflected Blake’s practice of combining text and image.
While my previous essay describes the works, relates their characteristics, and explains which of Blake’s works these artists were influenced by, this article approaches the subject from another perspective; it tries to answer how the artists first perceived Blake, how each of them understood him, and in what way the figure of Blake guided them.