Paintings depict psychological types
By Edith Decker of the Grants Pass, Oregon, Daily Courier
Few human conditions are not expressed somewhere in Shakespeare's canon. From the grasping of would-be kings to the desperation of the goofball in love, the Bard has covered the bases.
the catalog of Shakespeare's characters and situations throughout his plays.
That's a lot of people - many of them immediately recognizable thanks to English
teachers in every school district in the country.
painter David Baldwin of San Diego pondered the panorama of Shakespeare, he conceived a huge series of oils in his own
style that would allow him (and us) to delve into the characters, character
flaws and situations from Shakespeare's pages.
large set of them are displayed at the Grants Pass Museum of Art in Riverside
Park, through Aug. 9.
an early Picasso-esque style that emphasizes blues and purples, geometric
patterns, and recognizable but not
purely realistic faces, Baldwin offers snapshots of Shakespeare's people and
Iago whispering poisonous words about Desdemona to Othello.
humor: Hamlet verbally sparring with poor old Polonius.
Lady Macbeth, dreaming and guilty, peering into the dark- ness with only a tiny
Prospero, looking down on malformed Caliban
, while the spirit Ariel - a dotted outline in the sky -plays music.
madness: Lear, his beard a series of geometric patterns, raises his hands like
trees to heaven and tells Cordelia, in prison with him (and a pig), that they
shall sing like birds in cages.
Julius Caesar, his hand up and his expression saying "No way" as the
soothsayer rises from the crowd to tell him to "Beware the Ides of
there are lesser-known characters whose situation is just as touching and
thought-provoking. There's Henry IV, bothered by his conscience and having
fitful sleep. His eyes impossibly wide, he clings to his sheet in "The Head
That Wears the Crown.”
there’s the snooty but smitten Malvolio convinced his boss Olivia will be won
over by a ridiculous costume including bright yellow stockings and a constant,
key to Baldwin's work is the way he conveys the expressions on the characters'
faces. Jacques from "As You Like It" has the perfect face for a man
who enjoys being melancholy. Richard III's expression is exactly right for a man
who's asking his minions to help his own uncle along to death so he can gain the
In spite of, or perhaps because of, his painting style, Baldwin finds the profound heart of the characters and portrays it in their eyes, smiles and body language.
such a strong theme, a standard color scheme and such talent, the show holds
together as if it's been cemented with super glue. Any of the paintings could
stand alone. But together they have a haunting impact. For Shakespeare and
Baldwin, there is strength in numbers.
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