Painting Shakespeare: On Display

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These are some of the paintings from the Folger Shakespeare Library collection on display May 13, 2017 – Feb 11, 2018.

Copy of Thomas Gainsborough's "David Garrick Leaning on a Bust of Shakespeare"

This is a copy of a portrait of actor David Garrick painted by Thomas Gainsborough, one of the most notable portrait painters working in England in the late eighteenth century. The original was destroyed in a fire in 1946.

Francesco Zuccarelli's "Macbeth Meeting the Witches"

Francesco Zuccarelli's "Macbeth Meeting the Witches" (1760) is one of the earliest paintings from this play. It was selected for the "Painting Shakespeare exhibition" as a work of fine art that exemplifies the best of eighteenth-century painting.

This American folk art painting by George Francis shows the actor David Garrick in the character of King Lear in Act 3, Scene 2.

Henri Fradelle painted "Othello and Desdemona" in 1827 as a working tool for Charles Pye, the engraver who transformed it into a print.

Henry Fuseli's "Macbeth Confronting the Vision of the Armed Head" in Painting Shakespeare

Henry Fuseli's "Macbeth Consulting the Vision of the Armed Head" draws on his fascination with fantasy, terror, and the supernatural. Painted for the Irish Shakespeare Gallery in Dublin in 1793, it is still in its original frame.

This painting by Richard Westall depicts Imogen, the heroine of Shakespeare's play Cymbeline, entering a cave—a seemingly straightforward description. At one time, however, the painting's association with Shakespeare was forgotten, and the figure was misidentified as a young man.

The Awakening of King Lear by Robert Smirke

King Lear, woken by Cordelia's kiss, is scared and confused, unsure whether he is alive or dead. Instead of emphasizing the fear, Robert Smirke's "The Awakening of King Lear" visually foreshadows a happy reunion by placing father and daughter together in a stable pyramid at the base of the picture.

Umberto Romano's "Shakespeare Recites Shakespeare"

How do you represent the man named Shakespeare if you've never seen him with your own eyes? Umberto Romano (1905-1982) reinterpreted the iconic Chandos portrait through the lens of modern art, surrounding the man with an abstract field of swirling paint in "Shakespeare Recites Shakespeare."