I wanted to upload this photo of a painting I started working on last July. I finished the bulk of it in 1 week or so, then I recently found it again and decided to ‘polish’ it a bit – and here’s the finished piece! 🙂
Oil on canvas paper, 305×228 mm
It’s a great feeling to be motivated to produced art (as liberally as I may use the term) by a work of outstanding genius like Shakespeare’s King Lear! In his Poetics, Aristotle points out the six elements of Classical tragedy: plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle, and song. Alongside ‘melos’ (or ‘song’), ‘spectacle’ ranks low in order of importance and “artistic method” because it is “dependent on extranaeous aids” (Section II, Part xiv). However, I think that one of the most awesome things about Shakespeare is his ability to forge inextricable connections between these qualities that Artistotle conventiently presents in packets of two, as it were (i.e. plot – character, diction – thought, etc…).
Therefore, as in Macbeth the Diction of the Weird Sisters (“All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!” – Act I, Scene iii) can be said to conceive the Character of Macbeth, in King Lear the Diction is so powerfully evocative that it conceives Spectacle. So really, it fits in perfectly with the motto of this blog – “literary-induced flicks in our imagination”.
In fact, I titled my painting Lear’s Shadow, an image taken from the Tragedy itself:
Doth any here know me? This is not Lear:
Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?
Either his notion weakens, his discernings
Are lethargied–Ha! waking? ’tis not so.
Who is it that can tell me who I am?
– King Lear (Act I, Scene iv)
The actual scene depicted in my painting is directly inspired from this photo on the left taken from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s website that can be accessed here. The actors are Kathryn Hunter as The Fool and Greg Hicks as King Lear.