William Shakespeare (British, Stratford-upon-Avon 1564–1616 Stratford-upon-Avon)
Lithograph; third state of four
Image: 10 1/8 x 7 in. (25.7 x 17.8 cm)
Sheet: 11 7/8 x 7 15/16 in. (30.1 x 20.2 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1922
Not on view
In 1834 Delacroix began a series of lithographs devoted to Hamlet, creating moody images that mirror the troubled psyche of the prince. Choosing key scenes and poetic passages, the artist's highly personal and dramatic images were unusual in France, where interest in Shakespeare developed only in the nineteenth century. Here, in act 3, scene 4, the overwrought prince thrusts a small portrait of his dead father before his resistant mother, insisting that she acknowledge that her new husband Claudius is a murderer. Gihaut frères published the artist's thirteen-print set in 1843, with a second expanded edition of sixteen issued by Bertauts in 1864. Cooly received at first, the prints eventually were recognized as one of the artist's most significant achievements.
Hamlet et la reine
Signature: Signed and dated in the stone: "Eug. Delacroix / 1834"
Inscription: Lettered in stone, bottom right: "Lith. de Villain"; in stone bottom cener: "N'ajoute rien de plus: ces mots penètrent jusqu'à mon oreille comme autant de poignards / rien de plus, cher Hamlet!" [Queen Gertrude: O speak to me no more; / These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears; / No more, sweet Hamlet!]
Delteil 112 iii/iv; Delteil/Strauber 112 iii/iv
Adolphe Moreau Eugène Delacroix et son oeuvre. Librairie des Bibliophiles, Paris, 1873, cat. no. 85.
Loys Delteil "Le Peintre-Graveur Illustré: Ingres & Delacroix". Vol. III, Paris, 1908, cat. no. 112 iii, np.
Jacob Bean, Lee Johnson, William M. Griswold Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863): Paintings, Drawings, and Prints from North American Collections. Ex. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1991, vol. III, p. 904, no. 2407.
Loys Delteil, Susan Elizabeth Strauber Delacroix: The Graphic Work : A Catalogue Raisonné. San Francisco, 1997, cat. no. 112 iii, p. 274.
Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel Die Shakespeare-Illustration (1594–2000). 3 vols., Wiesbaden and Mainz, 2003, vol. III, pp. 904, 1196, no. 2407, ill.
Maria Grazia Messina "Shakespeare and Romantic Painting in Europe" in Shakespeare in Art, published on the occasion of the exhibition, Dulwich Picture Gallery. Jane Martineau, 2003, pp. 174-179 (opinions of Shakespeare in France, stage productions and paintings made in response by Delacroix and Chasseriau).
Peter Whitfield Illustrating Shakespeare. British Library, London, 2013, pp. 65-66.