Hamlet Tries To Follow His Father's Ghost

Eugène Delacroix French
Lithographer Villain French
Subject William Shakespeare British

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 1, scene 4, the prince struggles (in a pose reminiscent of the Roman statue known as the Borghese Gladiator) to break free of Horatio and Marcellus and follow his murdered father's ghost, exclaiming: "Still am I call'd. Unhand me, gentlemen. / By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me! / I say, away! Go on; I'll follow thee." 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 Tries To Follow His Father's Ghost, Eugène Delacroix (French, Charenton-Saint-Maurice 1798–1863 Paris), Lithograph; second state of four

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