Art/ Collection/ Art Object

"Have you pray'd tonight, Dedesmona?": plate 12 from Othello (Act 5, Scene 2)

Series/Portfolio:
Suite of fifteen prints: Shakespeare's Othello / Quinze Esquisses à l'eau forte dessinées et gravées par Théodore Chasseriau
Artist:
Théodore Chassériau (French, Le Limon, Saint-Domingue, West Indies 1819–1856 Paris)
Subject:
William Shakespeare (British, Stratford-upon-Avon 1564–1616 Stratford-upon-Avon)
Date:
etched 1844, reprinted 1900
Medium:
Etching, engraving, and roulette on chine collé; second edition (Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1900)
Dimensions:
plate: 12 5/8 x 9 11/16 in. (32 x 24.6 cm) image: 10 7/8 x 9 in. (27.6 x 22.9 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1932
Accession Number:
32.7.12
Not on view
In 1844 Eugène Piot commissioned the young Chassériau to prepare fifteen illustrations to Shakespeare's Othello. Inspired by a series of ground-breaking Hamlet lithographs that Delacroix had created one year earlier, the younger artist opted for the more linear technique of etching. His expressive conception of form had been learned in Ingres's studio then developed under Delacroix. In the series, key exchanges offer a compressed summary of much of the play, with a final cluster devoted to the tragic conclusion. Here, Othello wakes the uncomprehending Desdemona and confronts her with imagined sins before smothering her. Tragically, the general has been manipulated by a jealous follower Iago to believe Desdemona unfaithful.
Signature: in plate, below image at right: "Th. Chasseriau inv. et sc."

Inscription: in plate, below image: Othello: "Have you pray'd tonight, Desdemona?" [Othello, Act 5, scene 2]; lower center: "Publié par le Cabinet de l'Amateur, Rue Lafitte 2"
Vendor: E. Weyhe (New York, NY)
Fisher 1979, pp. 118-123; Sandoz 282; Cailac 17; Chevillard 440
Jay McKean Fisher Théodore Chassériau Illustrations for Othello. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, 1979-80, pp. 118-123, 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).



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