The Great Red Dragon Paintings

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The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun
The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun
The Great Red Dragon and the Beast from the Sea
The Number of the Beast is 666

The Great Red Dragon Paintings are a series of watercolour paintings by the English poet and painter William Blake, painted between 1805 and 1810.[1] It was during this period that Blake was commissioned to create over a hundred paintings intended to illustrate books of the Bible. These paintings depict 'The Great Red Dragon' in various scenes from the Book of Revelation.

And behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.

— (Rev. 12:3-4, KJV)

The paintings[edit]

The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun[edit]

Height: 43.7 cm, Width: 34.8 cm[2]

Housed at the Brooklyn Museum.

The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun[edit]

This image is similar to The Great Red Dragon and the Woman clothed with the Sun but shown from a different viewpoint. Height: 40.8 cm, Width: 33.7 cm[3]

Housed at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C..

The Great Red Dragon and the Beast from the Sea[edit]

Height: 40.1 cm, Width: 35.6 cm[4]

Housed at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C..

The Number of the Beast is 666[edit]

Height: 40.6 cm, Width: 33.0 cm[5]

Housed at: the Rosenbach Museum & Library

In literature[edit]

The painting The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun plays a prominent role in Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon, its film adaptations, Manhunter and Red Dragon, and the TV series Hannibal in which the primary antagonist Francis Dolarhyde has an obsession with the painting. Dolarhyde is fixated with the strength and power he thinks the dragon exudes, so he kills entire families to "become" the dragon. He also has a giant tattoo of the dragon on his back. Thomas Harris makes an error in citing The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun as the object of Dolarhyde's fixation while describing The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun, specifically the Dragon's tail wrapping around the woman, a detail specifically accurate of the "in" painting. As well, Harris refers to the "with" painting as having been loaned by the Brooklyn Museum for a Blake retrospective at the Tate[6]—the "in" painting is the version held by the Brooklyn Museum. Note, however, that the Brooklyn Museum's own website shows the "in" painting, but labels it "with",[7] so perhaps the error is the Museum's and not Harris'. Manhunter shows the "with" painting as named in Harris' book, and has the front-facing Dragon from that painting tattooed on Dolarhyde's chest, whereas Red Dragon uses "in" as described by Harris along with the back and leg tattoos.

It has also been used as the Oxford World's Classics front cover of The Private Memoirs of a Justified Sinner.[8]

References[edit]