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Catalog of the Shakespeare Art Collection  --  Multi-Color Graphics on Shakespearean Themes

"KING LEAR"
Description of Wood-cut 4 colors 12" x 18"
by Hannah Tompkins

 

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Title Quote:
"Is man no more than this?"
This is spoken by King Lear, who in his frenzied flight from murderous daughters takes refuge in a hovel and finds himself in the company of his Fool and "Mad Tom", the disguised Edgar.

The interpretation here is that 'man' can be either a King, a Fool or a Madman... or all three at once. The figure is therefore shown as a single entity, identical in its division of these three aspects.

This trinity, incidently, was also acknowledged in the Bibles Ecclesiastes: Ch.I.17:
"And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly."
Wisdom, madness and folly are innate parts of the human experience which occur at different times and at different levels.

The 4 colors in this print were used to designate the 4 stages of life:
Childhood.... Yellow
Youth... .... Ochre
Adulthood.... Light Sienna
Old Age...... Dark Brown
Both the design and color scheme have been integrated to suggest that balance and harmony can be achieved through recognizing and reconciling these diverse elements, in the knowledge that their residence in the human being is permanent.


Copyright © 1990 Hannah Tompkins. All rights reserved.

 

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