Blake's vivid paintings and prints illustrate his originality as an artist, poet and mystic philosopher. His early apprenticeship with the engraver James Basire introduced him to a wide range of art works through prints. Blake was fascinated by Michelangelo's figures and also by medieval Gothic art. He combined both in his own visionary scenes painted in watercolour and in his experimental prints combining words and images. He was a student, briefly, at the Royal Academy in London, but his unorthodox views were incompatible with contemporary academic practice. Most of his prolific output was made for a few sympathetic, loyal patrons.