William Blake was English Romantic artist, draftsman, engraver, philosopher, and poet. He possessed visionary powers and in art as in life was an individualist who made a standard of nonconformity. Blake had a prejudice against painting in oils on canvas and experimented with a variety of techniques in color printing, illustration, and tempera. His work as an artist is almost impossible to divorce from the complex philosophy expressed also through his poetry. He believed that the visible world of the senses is an unreal envelope behind which the spiritual reality is masked. He refused the easy path of abstraction and foggy suggestion, remaining content with nothing less than the maximum of clarity and perfection. To most of his generation Blake seemed merely a strange, and his genius was not in general recognized until the second half of the 19th century.