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Interpreting Shakespeare through Alderman Boydell’s Print Collection

Boydell's Illustrations of Shakespeare, Vol. II: King Lear, Act V, Scene III (after James Barry)

In celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, University of Chicago Professor Emeritus and Shakespeare scholar David Bevington will analyze large engravings of scenes from Shakespeare's plays (and sometimes of scenes that are described without being actually staged, such as Ophelia's drowning in Hamlet), as illustrative of ways that the late eighteenth century interpreted important characters and events.

Commissioned by Alderman Boydell in the 1790s, the engravings depict several scenes for each of Shakespeare’s plays. The Smart Museum has a complete edition of the 167 prints, of which a small selection will be on view during the discussion.


Program is full. Join us for a similar program on October 15 or add your name to the May 6 waitlist.