Shakespeare in Visual Arts Presentation ~ Art History & Literature ~ 108 Slides
This is a complete powerpoint presentation about Art History visual images and the Literature of William Shakespeare. There are many slides in the slideshow box on this page to give you a very complete idea of whether the product will suit you.


Unlike novels, plays and screenplays were meant to be seen, not read. Even the most avid readers enjoy watching a performed play or film as opposed to reading it on the page. By contrast, favorite novels oftentimes never find an adaptation to stage or screen which satisfies devoted readers.

Artists are attracted to visual media. Many of the artists in this presentation were avid theater goers. Eugène Delacroix, for example, a major artist from the Romantic Era, regularly attended plays. He then painted portions of them, including a self portrait of himself as Hamlet.

Students will be surprised to discover other major artists painting these plays. They are more well known for their entire output, not just Shakespeare. These include William Blake, Théodore Chassériau, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John William Waterhouse, Odilon Redon and others.

Some artists mostly painted the theatrical world as their subjects. These included Henry Fuseli, Edwin Austin Abbey, and Benjamin West.

The stage provides more “give” for a production than a film. Because it is set back from the audience, the actors’ ages, for example, can be stretched to fit. Not so on camera where every pore of the actor’s skin is visible in close up shots.

With this close up ability, art history became more and more important as the productions had to measure up to the expectations of the original source. No longer could a wig be put on a 40 year old woman playing Juliet who was wearing a Victorian gown. Or, as in Shakespeare’s day, a young man be used to play Juliet.

This has carried over to the stage where productions nowadays are also more closely tailored to achieve scrupulous attention to details.

The artists mostly chose high points of the most famous plays. The most frequently painted subject is Ophelia in “Hamlet.” Usually Ophelia’s painted scenes involve her drowning in the stream or they immediately lead up to her drowning. Other artist favorites are the three witches in Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and her involvement in murder, Hamlet with his father’s ghost, Romeo and Juliet on the balcony or in death in the crypt, King Lear in the storm, and so forth.

Lines from the plays are added to the paintings herein. The lines match up to the overall theme of each painting. The lines do not exactly match the still image. The painters never intended for their paintings to exactly match the lines in the play.
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Created: Dec 14, 2016

Updated: Feb 22, 2018

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