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Past ExhibitionsExhibition
Plays Enacted in Prints:
Shakespeare and Goethe by the French Romantics

Saturday, 8 October 2022 – Sunday, 22 January 2023
9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Fridays, Saturdays 9:30 am – 8:00 pm
Admission ends 30 mins. before closing time
Mondays (except for 10 October, 2 and 9 January, 2023), 11 October, 30 December, 2022- 1 January, 2023 and 10 January
Prints and Drawings Gallery, New Wing
Admission Fees
Adults 500 yen (400 yen), college students 250 yen (200 yen)
  • * Admission is free for Special Exhibition or Permanent Collection ticket holders.
  • * Numbers in parenthesis indicate discount fees for groups of 20 or more.
  • * Free for high school students, under 18, seniors (65 and over), Campus Members. Please show your ID upon entrance.
  • * Disabled visitors admitted free of charge, with one attendant. Please present your disability identification upon arrival.
  • * Free admission of this exhibition and Permanent Collection on 3 November.
Organized by
The National Museum of Western Art
With the sponsorship of
Nippon BS Broadcasting Corporation
With the cooperation of
The Western Art Foundation

PDF file 17.9MB

The Romantic movement emerged in Europe in the late 18th century and flourished until the mid-19th century, embracing literature, music and art. The French Romantic artists, in particular, produced emotionally-charged works influenced by foreign literature and theatre. Above all, Shakespeare and Goethe exerted considerable influence across various fields with their depictions of the psychological dimensions of humanity’s struggle against fate and nature, in works that freely departed from the norms of classical drama. In the field of art, Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) and Théodore Chassériau (1819–56) took great inspiration from their plays.

The Romantic prints selected from our museum’s collection and presented here are monumental examples of what the era could achieve in this medium. The series ‘Faust’ and ‘Hamlet’, both by Delacroix, and ‘Othello’ by Chassériau are shown along with Macbeth Consulting the Witches, considered to be the first print on a literary theme by Delacroix. While bearing influences from theatrical productions of the period, all the prints are original in the way they depict the emotions flooding a scene—they are, without doubt, products of the two painters’ close readings and fertile imaginations.

Please enjoy the characters of the plays brought to life by Delacroix and Chassériau and the unfolding dramas.

Exhibition Checklist (PDF file, about 1.04MB)

Brochure (Synopses of the plays) (PDF file, about 694KB)

  • image: The Ghost on the Terrace from the series ‘Hamlet’
    Eugène Delacroix
    The Ghost on the Terrace from the series ‘Hamlet’
    1843 lithograph
  • image: Macbeth Consulting the Witches
    Eugène Delacroix
    Macbeth Consulting the Witches
    1825 lithograph
  • image: Mephistopheles Aloft from the series ‘Faust’
    Eugène Delacroix
    Mephistopheles Aloft from the series ‘Faust’
    1828 lithograph
  • image: ‘If I do die before thee, prithee shroud me’ (Act IV, Scene 3) plate 8 from the series ‘Othello’
    Théodore Chassériau
    ‘If I do die before thee, prithee shroud me’ (Act IV, Scene 3) plate 8 from the series ‘Othello’
    1844 etching, engraving

All works are in the collection of the National Museum of Western Art