Bard’s work inspires major art exhibition

Macbeth, Act I, Scene 3, the Weird Sisters depicted by Henry Fuseli.
Macbeth, Act I, Scene 3, the Weird Sisters depicted by Henry Fuseli.

An exhibition commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death is to open in Compton Verney.

Shakespeare in Art: Tempests, Tyrants and Tragedy is a collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park.

The exhibition will focus on those pivotal Shakespeare plays which have motivated artists across the ages – from Sargent, Fuseli, Rossetti, Blake, Watts and Romney to Karl Weschke, Kate Tempest and Tom Hunter – exploring the enduring appeal of the Elizabethan playwright.

It gives visitors the chance to reimagine Shakespeare’s works through a unique series of multi‐media, multi‐sensory encounters; including painting, photography, projection, sound and light.

Using specially commissioned audio drawing on excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays, leading RSC actors will bring to life scenes from some of the major paintings.

Uniquely for an art gallery, the exhibition will be designed by the Royal Shakespeare Company’s director of design, Stephen Brimson Lewis.

More than 70 works – including paintings, drawings, engravings, woodcuts and photos – have been sourced from across the UK for this show, taking place just down the road from Shakespeare’s birth place of Stratford Upon Avon. A further 11 works will come from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

There will also be a brand new, specially commissioned artwork from one of British art’s brightest talents ‐ award‐winning and internationally acclaimed photographer, Tom Hunter. He will be reimagining Ophelia’s death in Hamlet, utilising the Capability Brown lake at Compton Verney.  

Dr Steven Parissien, director of Compton Verney said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the RSC and to be able to contribute something new and original to the Shakespeare anniversary celebrations of 2016.”

The Shakespearean exhibition opens from Friday March 18 and can be seen until Sunday June 19 and is open from 11am to 5pm.

Visit www.comptonverney.org.uk for more information.