Ghost of a Flea

William Blake - The Ghost of a Flea - Google A...

Ever since I saw this painting by William Blake online, I have been thoroughly intrigued about it. Have always revisited it to go in awe at the marvelous impact it has on my senses. Have used it as a profile pic on Facebook once and used it in one of the earlier posts I wrote. Am interested in sharing it with you today and knowing about how do you react to it? Please share what you think. I want to write another post about it later and your inputs are most welcome!


30 thoughts on “Ghost of a Flea”

  1. Very arresting. I really like the use of the colours. Dark and yet glowing. What do you suppose he is looking at? Not a mirror yet he is so entranced by it you feel he is looking at his image

    1. nice observation Shai! I have thought about it too!

      What appears to to be a mirror that the ghost is trying to look at is in fact a bowl full of blood that he is trying to taste. Do notice the tongue!

      I agree, as I have mentioned in the post too, it is quite arresting!

  2. So I tried to not look at the other comments to give my own perspective. from my point of view he is looking into an empty bowl wanting more. The tongue sticking out may be some sort of gesture showing his distaste in the emptiness of the bowl (I imagine a hissing gesture), and yet he is most definitely powerful with all the muscles and demon/monster like head. To me overall it represents greed.. but that’s just me.

      1. Okay , you asked for it.

        To this untrained layman’s eye he looks like a ravenous alien beast wondering why his feeding bowl is empty and on the verge of going on a rampage to devour whatever he sees!


  3. Blake’s words about Jesus Christ: “He is the only God … and so am I, and so are you.” (He didn’t believe in a deity who was separate from and superior to us.) An interesting line in his work ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’ is “men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast” (only humans write about God–there’s no proof outside our own minds). This is very much in line with Blake’s belief in liberty and social equality in society and between the sexes. This is a writer, artist, philosopher and poet whose views were so controversial and he himself was such an enigma, that I swear no one but himself understood what he was trying to put across. And I wonder if he even knew what he was chasing after.

  4. It’s indeed an intriguing picture. The creature seem hungry and not really contempt. But can a beast ever be content? Can the beast in everyone of us ever be content? The really intriguing part of the picture is the stage is take place in. Is it only an act? Or is it the stage of life?

  5. Demons are just out of work actors – they audition for us and if we believe their character they become real. After the ‘play’ is over they go out for a beer with the rest of the cast. This particular demon’s expression reminds me of the look on the face of the vicar of my local church in England when he saw how little we had put in the collection plate…

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