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

PREFACE

Pursuit of truth has ever been a fervent, if somewhat cautious human occupation. But in a world tyrannized by force and violence, Truth must sometimes be told in a language the enemy does not understand; by the poets and painters. This language often uses symbols and metaphors.

Symbols are physical units that make up the alphabet of the Imagination from which its vocabulary is derived. They help to crystalize thoughts and ideas.

In this, Shakespeare was a master. By his perceptive observation of his fellow humans he has told almost all there is to know. His works are like a triple slide rule where he has calibrated:

  • Every conceivable human types
  • The full range of human emotions
  • Every situation in human experience.
The synthesis of this masterly manipulation was based on his experience in his time and in history as he knew it. He could not know the future's history, yet the elasticity of his insights can encompass any parcel of time, including our own, with amazing relevancy.

Shakespeare created images with words: I have tried to create images with form and color. In either case, the inventions are derived from personal experience, and interpretations.

There are certain satisfactions from reading or seeing Shakespeare 'as-is', however, acquaintance with background material and an Elizabethan glossary can significantly enhance the experience.

So it is with the visual works presented here. Purists will argue that a visual work should be self-contained and independent of 'program notes'; a premise also applied to music, yet here too the pleasure is increased by enlightened discourse on the subject.

Literary reference does not necessarily disqualify a musical work. Shakespeare himself was the source and inspiration for many musical expressions, confirming an intimate and long existing association between music and drama.

My contribution of paintings and prints is intended to broaden and strengthen this alliance.

The following descriptions are offered as a glossary of the visual vocabulary. Technical matters have been omitted. The response of the spectator is a personal affair. To like or not to like is a judgement to be made in emotional privacy.

Professor Goddard said " Poetry reflects life as a mirror..same mirror, but different reflections."
He also said " We read a poem as we live.. at our own risk."

This goes for painting too. Shakespeare has said something to me, and I say
it to you. It is my personal sharing.

Hannah Tompkins

 


Copyright © 1990 Hannah Tompkins. All rights reserved.

 

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