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Frozen in Time

“A picture is worth a thousand words”.

If, for a moment, you could all refrain from throwing fruit, shoes, and other items that could be significantly hazardous to my health if launched at the right speed, allow me to explain why I bother to start this entry with such a phrase. Believe it or not, Shakespeare has words. A lot of words. So many, in fact, that more than a few of them were actually made up by the Bard himself, although that is a subject of interest for some other time. These words, when put in their natural habitat of the theatre’s open stage and fuelled by the passion of actors, are mesmerizingly beautiful. Take them out and print them on paper, however, and you end up with a manuscript that only the most dedicated to the craft of reading would enjoy (or those in the most danger of failing their Literature subject would bother to read).

While I may be guilty of being part of those who enjoy and are dedicated to the craft of reading, I do concede that there are certain times when I have finished a particularly elegant soliloquy/dialogue, and wished that I could see the scene with my own eyes outside of a theatre production. Imagination, unfortunately, only goes so far in making a picture. Nowadays, this problem has been solved with motion pictures and animations; back then, however, when Shakespeare was long gone and only his written works remained, this problem would have been much harder to solve. Unless, of course, you happened to have a good degree of skill in wielding paintbrushes and slathering paints in a precise manner all over a canvas. Gifted with the talent of being able to bring the images in their minds into real life, quite a few painters took on the challenge of recreating characters and scenes from the many plays of Shakespeare. Here are a few.



  1. October 14, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    The paintings definitely reflect the images that Shakespeare wanted to portray in his plays. I could see these paintings as “inspiration pieces” for people who want to stage these plays in the near future.

  2. October 15, 2012 at 12:08 am

    I love how these paintings look like church murals at first glance, but in actuality they portray images from Shakespeare’s plays. A combination of two different but complementary forms of art.

  3. jmbatuhan
    October 15, 2012 at 12:39 am

    It’s rather easy for us to forget that Shakespeare’s works as they were originally performed were of an ephemeral and strictly temporal form, as this is the nature of stage plays. Before the advent of recording and motion picture, still pictures and single frames were the only lasting glimpses one could have or possess of Shakespeare that is not bound to the printed page. There is a certain depth that paintings convey that is unique to the medium, and it is wonderful to see and appreciate, even in today’s age, how Shakespeare is brought to life in this manner.

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