Hamlet and Horatio before the Gravediggers

Eugène Delacroix French
Lithographer Villain French
Subject William Shakespeare British

Not on view

After completing at least six of his lithographic illustrations for "Hamlet," Delacroix put the project on hold in 1836, likely due to the pressures of state commissions for large-scale public decorations. He returned to it only in 1842; nevertheless, he remained preoccupied with certain scenes in the interim, especially act 5, scene 1, in which gravediggers preparing a burial site unearth the skull of Yorick, a jester Hamlet had known as a child. Delacroix based the composition on a painting of the same subject he had exhibited at the Salon of 1839. He made minor adjustments, notably giving Hamlet a more active stance and greater prominence in the scene.

Hamlet and Horatio before the Gravediggers, Eugène Delacroix (French, Charenton-Saint-Maurice 1798–1863 Paris), Lithograph; second state of four

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