Hamlet and the Ghost of his Father

Adam Vogler Austrian
Subject William Shakespeare British

Not on view

This dramatic nighttime subject, drawn from Hamlet 
(act 1, scene 4), shows the prince encountering his father’s ghost outside Elsinore, the Danish royal castle. Restrained by his friend Horatio, Hamlet struggles to follow the spirit, who will later reveal that he was murdered and demand revenge. Vogler’s composition responds to a painting that the Swiss artist Henry Fuseli created in 1789 for John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery, which the younger artist would have known through prints (see 42.119.545). This finely drawn variation emphasizes the mysterious moonlit atmosphere and adds accurately detailed Renaissance costumes, a strategy in keeping with the historical Romanticism that Vogler learned at the Viennese Academy from the Nazarene painter Joseph von Führich.

Hamlet and the Ghost of his Father, Adam Vogler (Austrian, Vienna 1822–1856 Rome), Pen and gray ink, over graphite; double framing lines in pen and gray ink

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