Shakespeare Macbeth Act IV Scene I a dark cave. In the middle a Cauldron boiling. Three Witches, Macbeth, Hecate, &c

REYNOLDS, Sir Joshua engraved by Robert THEW

Published by John & Josiah Boydell, London, 1802
Art / Print / Poster
From Donald A. Heald Rare Books (ABAA) (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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Stipple engraving. Printed on wove Whatman paper. In perfect condition. Image size: 17 1/4 x 23 1/8 inches. A superb impression of one of the greatest images in Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery, from the original painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds "This is Shakespeare on a grand scale, the Shakespeare of titanic emotion, of compelling gesture and vivid gaze.the greatest of the engravings.are by any standard powerful works with an inescapable emotional force behind them. They speak directly to us." (A. E. Santaniello, The Boydell Shakespeare Prints, New York, 1979) In 1786, the printseller John Boydell (1719-1804) "embarked upon the most important enterprise of his life, viz. the publication, by subscription, of a series of prints illustrative of [the works of] Shakespeare, after pictures painted expressly for the work by English artists. For this purpose he gave commissions to all the most celebrated painters of this country for pictures, and built a gallery in Pall Mall for their exhibition. The execution of this project extended over several years. In 1789 the Shakespeare Gallery contained thirty-four pictures, in 1791 sixty-five, in 1802 one hundred and sixty-two, of which eighty-four were of large size. The total number of works executed was 170, three of which were pieces of sculpture, and the artists employed were thirty-three painters and two sculptors, Thomas Banks and the Hon. Mrs. Damer. It appears from the preface to the catalogue of 1789, and from other recorded statements of Boydell, that he wished to do for English painting what he had done for English engraving, to make it respected by foreigners." ( DNB ) Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) was considered in his time the greatest artist of the era, and the brightest star of the constellation of artists who contributed to Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery. Here, in a great whirlwind of otherworldly beings, he shows Macbeth confronting, as it were, his true fate, having been deceived by a partial revelation at the start of the action. Macbeth's muscular, commanding figure waves his long dagger uselessly at the insubstantial spirits and ghosts, while the ghoulish witches and their entourage black magical beings calmly watch him. Cf. Santaniello (op.cit.). Bookseller Inventory # 16708

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Shakespeare Macbeth Act IV Scene I a dark ...

Publisher: John & Josiah Boydell, London

Publication Date: 1802

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