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The Murder of Polonius (Le Meurtre de Polonius), from the Hamlet series

European Art

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The Murder of Polonius (Le Meurtre de Polonius), from the Hamlet series

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Eugène Delacroix
French, 1798–1863

Date

1834–1843, printed 1843–1864

Medium

Black and white lithograph on wove paper

Accession #

73.44

Dimensions

9 11/16 × 7 5/8 inches

Location

Currently Not on View

Description

Alerted by a voice, Hamlet, sword drawn, rushes to a curtain in his mother’s room behind which Polonius is hiding to spy on the prince’s conversation with Gertrude. In the next moment, thinking the spy is Claudius, Hamlet will impale the hapless courtier with the words, “How now! a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!”

The sparse setting focuses the viewer’s full attention on the action itself, creating a sense of suspense.

Credit

Purchase in honor of Mrs. Robert Wells, President 1972-1973 of the Members Guild

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