Shakespeare, Portraiture, Painting and Prints

Erin C. Blake

in The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780748635238
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652297 | DOI:
Shakespeare, Portraiture, Painting and Prints

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This chapter describes engraving, paying particular attention to the extent to which it has been imitated, mocked and corrected. It also addresses a rival likeness, the Chandos portrait, and related imaginings of the dramatist. It specifically investigates Shakespeare in paintings and prints by looking at pictures of Shakespeare himself and at pictures that illustrate the words he wrote. Shakespeare in paintings and prints is an ever-changing story. While pictures representing Shakespeare the man had been circulating during the seventeenth century thanks largely to the Droeshout engraving, pictures representing Shakespeare's works were almost non-existent until the eighteenth century. After two centuries of involvement in the pictorial mainstream, Shakespeare almost disappeared from twentieth-century paintings and prints. To be successful, an image of Shakespeare the man or of ‘Shakespeare’ the body of literature must satisfy certain expectations, but as this chapter has shown, those expectations are not universal.

Keywords: Shakespeare; paintings; prints; Chandos portrait; pictures; engraving

Chapter.  7487 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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