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Catalog of the Shakespeare Art Collection  --  Oil Paintings on Shakespearean Themes

#110 " THE TEMPEST"
Description of Painting - Oil on Canvas 28" x 36"
by Hannah Tompkins

 

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This painting is another version of the themes expressed in the earlier work. It shows Prospero, as Humankind's repository of knowledge, raising himself off his knees in a posture of aspiration. One rests on the cave roof, where Caliban, the primitive savage sits huddled in darkness: the other foot stands on a book that serves as a stepping stone as Prospero reaches up to the spirit Ariel, emerging from a cosmic blue. 

The color of the book relates to the burst of flame behind Prospero, that symbolizes the passionate hopes, dreams and aspirations, which are validated not only in the original achievement but which increases in value as a legacy.

This legacy depends on the regeneration of the species, inspired by mutual harmony and trust, as depicted by the two portraits of Ferdinand and Miranda that crown a huge, translucent globe. 

Above their heads is the outstretched hand of Ariel, the spirit, in a gesture of benediction, for they are truly king and queen of spirituality, as designated by the chess pieces. Following their betrothal,, the lovers retire to a chess game.

Chess is also an emblem of manipulation and intrigue in the so-called sophisticated, civilized world, tainted by lust, greed and assorted corruptions as personified by some of the other characters in the play who try to exercise their destructive designs but are ultimately thwarted.

At the conclusion, forgiveness prevails, followed by reconciliation and restoration as Prospero regains his crown.

Peace and harmony are once again allowed a temporary respite from the perpetual tempests of the human struggle.

FIN


Copyright © 1990 Hannah Tompkins. All rights reserved.

 

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