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Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910)  Romeo and Juliet  Watercolors, 1895-1896  The Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia
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Title: Romeo and Juliet
Description:
Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910)
Romeo and Juliet
Watercolors, 1895-1896
The Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia

Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written early in the career of playwright William Shakespeare about two teenage "star-cross'd lovers" whose untimely deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are regarded as archetypal young lovers.

Romeo and Juliet belongs to a tradition of tragic romances stretching back to antiquity. Its plot is based on an Italian tale, translated into verse as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562, and retold in prose in Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1582. Shakespeare borrowed heavily both, but developed supporting characters, particularly Mercutio and Paris, in order to expand the plot. Believed to be written between 1591 and 1595, the play was first published in a quarto version in 1597. This text was of poor quality, and later editions corrected it, bringing it more in line with Shakespeare's original text.
Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's most-illustrated works. The first known illustration was a woodcut of the tomb scene, thought to be by Elisha Kirkall, which appeared in Nicholas Rowe's 1709 edition of Shakespeare's plays. Five paintings of the play were commissioned for the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery in the late 18th century, one representing each of the five acts of the play. The nineteenth century fashion for "pictorial" performances led to directors drawing on paintings for their inspiration, which in turn influenced painters to depict actors and scenes the theatre.

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Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910)  Six winged Seraphim (Azrail)  Oil on canvas, 1904  131x155 cm  The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, RussiaMikhail Vrubel (1856-1910)  Romeo and Juliet  Watercolors, 1895-1896  The Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, RussiaMikhail Vrubel (1856-1910)  Six winged Seraphim  Paper, watercolor, graphite pencil, Italian pencil, 1905  The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
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