William Blake is remembered as both a talented Romantic painter and a poet—he entered drawing school and began writing poetry around the same time in his adolescence. By age 20, Blake was thought to have written some of the finest lyrical poetry in the English language. He apprenticed for seven years with the engraver James Basire. In addition to engravings, Blake made drawings, watercolors, and small paintings in tempera. In 1788, he developed a process of etching that allowed him to combine an etching and text on the same printing plate, gaining unprecedented layout control of the printed page. Blake was deeply religious and believed that art could elevate the spirit. His most popular works were Biblical subjects, and illustrations inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.