The Virtual Shakespearean Sphere and Portraits of Shakespeare

N. V. Zakharov


TThe ‘Shakespeare industry’ as a part of the Shakespearean sphere is now widely represented in pictorial arts and other spheres and circulates in various types of media. Our article outlines some of the contemporary directions the development of the ‘Shakespeare industry’ is taking. Images associated with Shakespeare have long become a part of mankind’s visual experience — starting with the only lifetime drawing of a performance of his play and with two authentic 17th century portraits of Shakespeare. Other portraits of the playwright postdate his lifetime and either depicted other people or are forgeries which appeared later, when a huge demand arose for ‘genuine’ images of Shakespeare. These pseudo-portraits of Shakespeare, many of them well-known, are so numerous that the very fact of their existence proves them a product of the ‘Shakespeare industry’. Since the 18th century, Shakespearean plots and imagery have been playing an ever greater role in European — and, most importantly, in British art. It is hard to say when Shakespeare and his characters first made their appearance on commemorative coins, banknotes and stamps. A very recent example should suffice to show how these images are used. Early in 2016, the Royal Mint issued three new coins to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. These coins featured Yorick’s skull with a rose, a crown upon a sword and a scepter with a fool’s cap. Commemorative medals are of serious importance for a scholar, too, as well as stamps due to their sheer numbers. All of these representations deserve an in-depth study, as well as thematic and chronological classification. The rise of contemporary information technologies has begun to reshape the ‘Shakespeare industry’, especially concerning the information available online. Electronic editions of Shakespeare’s texts in English or Russian have already become authoritative. Of special interest are online encyclopedias of Shakespeare.

Language: russian



N. V. Zakharov
The Virtual Shakespearean Sphere and Portraits of Shakespeare // Electronic periodical “Herald of the International Academy of Sciences. Russian Section”, 2018. Issue #1: 122—126