National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

A Watcher descends to earth to teach the secrets of sin to one of the “beautiful and comely daughters” (1 Enoch 6:1) of man, in this 1822 sketch by William Blake for a planned (but never completed) illustrated Book of Enoch. The human woman is flanked on either side by giants, the offspring of her union with the angel.

The angels’ conspiracy to beget children by mortals is told in the opening chapters of 1 Enoch, called the Book of the Watchers. After Enoch attempts (unsuccessfully) to intercede on behalf of these angelic rebels, he is given various tours of the universe by their unfallen brethren as well as apocalyptic visions of the deluge and the Last Judgment, and even a vision of Israel’s whole history—from the Flood through the Exodus, Monarchy and Hellenistic period to the final establishment of a messianic kingdom on earth. Although attributed to the antediluvian patriarch, 1 Enoch is actually an assortment of apocalyptic texts, assembled by several different writers over the span of several centuries—from about the third century B.C.E. to as late as the first or second century C.E.