The Banquet Scene in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' by Daniel Maclise (1806-70). 1840. Oil on canvas, 183 x 305 cm. Collection: Guildhall Art Gallery (no. 830). Reproduced courtesy of the City of London Corporation. Presented by F. W. Cosens, 1904. Click on image to enlarge it.

Although The Banquet Scene in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' has a quite different composition than the artist’s The Play Scene in Hamlet, which arranges a group of figures on either side of the central action (the play within a play), both pictures have roughly circular arches and both arrange their figures according to the then-standard academic approach in pyramidal groups. In each work the viewer’s attention is drawn to a single figure, but Lady Macbeth dominates far more than does the prone Hamlet, here the withdrawn observer  who stands out in large part because Maclise places him against Ophelia’s white gown. — George P. Landow


Created 5 February 2015