Who knew that what the world really needed was a nightmarish empty-eyed Anglo-Saxon/Medieval blend production of Hamlet?
Edwin Austin Abbey did, apparently.
Or so The Play Scene in Hamlet, which he painted in 1897, evinces.
It combines a number of Abbey’s interests, as he (the Encyclopædia Britannica writes) “specialized in large literary and historical works encompassing the various period revivals then in fashion: [including] medieval, [and] Shakespearean….”
Its subjects maintain more humanity than do those in Daniel Maclise’s more traditional take, and their reactions speak more tellingly.
But that isn’t the only difference in Abbey’s scene.
We, dear reader, seem to be the play.
Claudius stares us down (evenly, stoically—but certainly tensely). Gertrude shrinks away from him as much as from the players. Polonius stares proudly in…entirely the wrong direction? Well, never mind him.
Ophelia seems a little glazed. But I’d be distracted by Hamlet’s carryings-on, too. Sitting on a heap of wolf furs, he seems less interested now in the lap he so insisted upon claiming than his uncle—a gaze shared by Horatio, who stands guard-like at the side with one hand on the hilt of his sword, to see how Claudius responds to this enactment of his guilt.
Meanwhile, one of the gravediggers has crashed the party, crouching beside the usurping king.
Everyone else peers out at us with flat affects and black eyes.
Including, disconcertingly, a child with a hunting horn.
I’ve always liked this weird, weird painting.
Especially Hamlet’s purple tights. Purple tights are awesome.
More Fantastical Photos of a Dreamlike World by Oleg Oprisco - My Modern Metropolis
Dolce and Gabbana’s baroque inspired pieces. 2012/13
art history meme. 7/7 sculptures & other media
east doors of the florence baptistery
“the gates of paradise”, 1401-1421
In 1401, Bartolo informed Ghiberti, who had left Florence during a brief outbreak of the plague, that the Baptistery in Florence was commissioning a second set of bronze doors. Seven finalists, including Ghiberti, worked for a year to depict in bronze the story of Abraham’s call to sacrifice his son Isaac. In the end, it came down to two artists, Ghiberti and Brunelleschi. Brunelleschi’s version emphasized the violence, while Ghiberti devised a calmer, more lyrical composition.
To our eyes, the Brunelleschi seems more powerful and “modern.” But Brunelleschi’s determination to cram as many attention-grabbing devices into one work may have seemed willful to 15th-century Florentine jurors. Certainly, Ghiberti’s craftmanship was superior; unlike Brunelleschi, who soldered his panel from many separate pieces of bronze, Ghiberti cast his in just two, and he used only two-thirds as much metal—a not-inconsiderable savings. The combination of craft and parsimony would have appealed to the practical-minded men of the Calimala.
By his own account, Ghiberti won the competition outright; but Brunelleschi’s first biographer says that the jury asked the two men to collaborate and Brunelleschi refused. Ghiberti took on the job. It would occupy him for the next two decades. (x)
“The Old and Dusty World” is a Renaissance-inspired photography series from The Netherlands’ very own Mariska Karto