Poor Poet (Oil Painting)

Daniela  Illing

Blaufelden, Germany

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Artist's Description

Whew. That one chewed me out in the best ways an artwork can. The challenge was to create something that imbues the relevance of Shakespeare in today’s world.

Being German, Shakespeare is no national hero to me. He’s global heritage, found even (especially?) on walls on Tahir Square 2011. His plays work in almost any context, I’ve seen them performed in English, French, German, Sanskrit. And while certain riches of the English language tend to get lost in translation, his works relay a profound truthfulness of the human experience that bridges all boundaries of language, culture and religion. He is humanity’s ambassador.

A world of poets draws upon him and he himself stood on the shoulders of giants (Ovid, Plutarch, …). He keeps them alive in the process and is resuscitated by others – albeit mangled/misquoted often, thus the Zombie metaphor. :D

The background consists of a collage of German laudations on Shakespeare (including one from his early fanboy Goethe), an Anti-Stratfordian propaganda piece and several Arabic poems based on Hamlet.

All the painted quotes are of personal importance:

The Asian letters are Chinese for „Much ado about nothing“. A former student was kind enough to translate. Why Chinese? Because the book of romance is a complete enigma to me.

Framing the skull is the first sentence of Sonnet 66 in German, which was brilliantly used in a Rufus Wainwright / Berliner Ensemble cooperation – the most amazing 90 Minutes of theatre I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience!

The rest is from The Tempest – my all time favourite play – with the exeption of the Richard III quote featured near the jaw. I’ve mostly avoided the historic plays for the Tudor propaganda they are, but the Hollow Crown Series and 2014’s trip to Trafalgar Transformed’s „Richard III“ made me see the light. The quote featured here marks the moment I could personally relate to Richard’s character – something I couldn’t have seen myself doing a day before.

The mustache is a testament to how loved the Bard is among us nerds: It’s „To be or not to be“ in Klingon, as my first contact with Hamlet was in Star Trek – The Undiscovered Country.

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