William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake's work is now considered seminal in the history of both poetry and the visual arts.
Blake's prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the language". His visual artistry has led one modern critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced". Although he only once traveled any further than a day's walk outside London over the course of his life, his creative vision engendered a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced 'imagination' as "the body of God", or "Human existence itself".
Once considered mad for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is highly regarded today for his expressiveness and creativity, as well as the philosophical and mystical undercurrents that reside within his work. His work has been characterized as part of the Romantic movement, or even "Pre-Romantic", for its largely having appeared in the 18th century.