January 9, 2016 § 1 Comment
The New York Public Library announced this week that they were making 180,000 digitized public domain images available for hassle-free downloading and use. (See the announcement here.)
The collection contains some wonderful images of interest to Shakespeareans. As an example, have a look at this “book” of images related to Macbeth. It contains numerous photos of full productions like one of the Old Vic and the famous Orson Welles “Voodoo” Macbeth, and a set of photos of studio shots of Lady Macbeths like Sarah Bernhardt, Sada Thompson, Ellen Terry, Lili Langtry.
The collection is especially rich in photos from the early years of the New York Shakespeare Festival’s free Shakespeare-in-the-Park productions – like this one of Christopher Walken in Macbeth:
The possibilities are extensive. Next time you can afford to get sucked into an hour or two of browsing, check it out.
Best Xmas Present: Book, Presenting Shakespeare
January 3, 2016 § Leave a Comment
I received a lot of wonderful gifts for Christmas this year, but my son and his fiancé found the sweet spot for my bibliophilia with what is probably my absolute favorite present – a copy of Mirko Ilić and Steven Heller’s wonderful new collection of posters from productions around the world called Presenting Shakespeare.
The book’s blurb says, “just as centuries of theatrical artists have reimagined [Shakespeare’s] works through the lens of their own time and culture, so too have illustrators and designers been inspired to create posters that reinvent Shakespeare’s well-known themes for each new generation of theatergoers.” The Folio-sized volume collects over 1100 posters, representing productions from 50 or more countries.
As you would expect from designers of the caliber of the authors (if you don’t know about them you should make it a point to do so soon!) the book is itself magnificently designed. The posters are grouped by title and by visual themes. They cover a span of 250 years, and are a lesson in the development of the graphic arts aside from their interest to Shakespeareans. With several visually related posters reproduced on most pages, it is easy to spend a half hour or so just contemplating three or four pages.
The selection of posters is extraordinary. Some very well known specimens, like Alphonse Mucha’s design for the Sarah Bernhardt Hamlet are included, but the strength of this wonderful book is how far-ranging the choices are. The juxtapositions are visually and intellectually stimulating.
A number of additional photos of book pages can be found on one of the author’s blogs.
The book is available from Amazon here:
Presenting Shakespeare: 1,100 Posters from Around the World