History of theatrical productions of Hamlet.

Broody, Dramatic 20th-Century Posters Promoting Productions of Hamlet

Broody, Dramatic 20th-Century Posters Promoting Productions of Hamlet

The Vault
Historical Treasures, Oddities, And Delights
Oct. 23 2015 11:39 AM

Broody, Dramatic 20th-Century Posters Promoting Productions of Hamlet

In a new book, Presenting Shakespeare: 1,100 Posters From Around the World, Mirko Ilić and Steven Heller group examples of advertising art by Shakespeare play. Their Hamlet chapter is full of particularly lovely artistic interpretations, drawing from the moody source material of the play itself. 

The group below comes from the late 19th and 20th centuries, when text-heavy theatrical advertisements had been superseded by the more ambitious posters made possible by the advent of affordable color printing. "Unlike more ephemeral handbills," Ilić and Heller write, "[posters made after the middle of the 19th century] were designed to hang during a run of the play and could be more creative in scope." 

Certain motifs repeat often in the Hamlet posters Ilić and Heller collected. " 'Hamlet' offers the poster artist a wealth of mnemonic possibilities," the authors write, including the famous skull and the contested crown, as well as the ghostly presence of Hamlet's father. Because of the importance of the lead actor to each production of this play, an image of the prince anchors many of the posters. 

LOC1890
United States, 1890. Designed by The Seer Print.

Library of Congress

Mucha
Theatre Sarah Bernhardt, France, 1899. Designed by Alphonse Mucha.

Princeton Architectural Press

LOC1900
Lyceum Theatre, United States, 1900. Designed by Strobridge & Co. Lithographers.

Library of Congress

ChampenoisMultzer
France, 1910. Designed by Marcel Multzer and Ferdinand Champenois.

Swann Auction Galleries

ChrisLebeau
Die Haghespelers Theatre Group, the Netherlands, 1914. Designed by Chris Lebeau.

Princeton Architectural Press

200 - Main frame131
Moscow Art Academic Theatre the Second, Russia, 1924. Designed by M.V. Libakov.

Bakhrushin Museum O Federal State Budget Institution of Culture “A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum,” Moscow

198 - Main frame131
Mayakovsky Moscow Theatre, Soviet Union, 1956. Designed by V. Tretyakov and V.F. Ryndin.

Bakhrushin Museum O Federal State Budget Institution of Culture “A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum,” Moscow

BPGalleryEdit
Hungary, 1964. Art by Antal Gunda.

Courtesy of the Budapest Poster Gallery