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

Théodore Chassériau French
Subject William Shakespeare British

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.

"Have you pray'd tonight, Dedesmona?": plate 12 from Othello (Act 5, Scene 2), Théodore Chassériau (French, Le Limon, Saint-Domingue, West Indies 1819–1856 Paris), Etching, engraving, and roulette on chine collé; second edition (Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1900)

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