Ophelia (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 7)

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Here, Hamlet’s rejected lover, her mind unhinged, has fallen into a brook while picking wildflowers. Inspired by an evocative description of Ophelia’s death in Shakespeare’s Hamlet (act 4, scene 7), Millais painted the subject for a London Royal Academy exhibition in 1852; this masterful print reproduces that composition. As a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Millais challenged artistic convention and spent months outdoors painting the lush setting, and then posed a model in a bathtub in his studio to complete the composition. The painting’s hyperrealistic detail and collapsed space initially unsettled viewers, but this later print encouraged admiration for the groundbreaking conception. Stephenson combined mezzotint, etching, and stipple to evoke the rich silverwork adorning Ophelia’s gown and describe the range of plants and flowers embellishing her watery grave.

Ophelia (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 7), After Sir John Everett Millais (British, Southampton 1829–1896 London), Mezzotint, etching and stipple on chine collé; proof

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.