As Hamlet Alphonse Mucha Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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In this painting Alphonse Mucha helps to promote a production of Hamlet. You will be able to read the words across the top which explain everything about this upcoming show, "Tragique Histoire D'Hamlet - Prince de Danemark."

Sarah Bernhardt's name is then included alongside, and she is the figure displayed in the portrait below. She herself was well known to Mucha and worked as both a notable actress and also became involved in running the productions themselves. Thus she would have hired Mucha herself and spoken to him directly about how best to promote this upcoming theatre show. Mucha found such content to be excellent for inspiring ideas for his work and he was more than happy to take on this project. Many other posters also came about at around this time, and Mucha himself was never short of work in that regard. Paris was a cultural centre at the time that nowhere else in the world could really compete with, but within the theatre community these productions would have to fight hard to obtain a good share of the public's interest in order to make each production financially viable.

The artist would receive a great number of commissioned projects for advertisement posters, with the theatre sector being one of the most prominent within that. Productions were common throughout Paris and Mucha knew a number of actors and actresses, some of whom were also involved in organising these shows. They loved to call on his services to help promote the latest theatre show and Mucha himself seemed to enjoy using these events as inspiration for his work. He would also cover physical products in other posters, such as food and drink and also aspirational travel. He became popular with the middle classes and print advertising was a key resource at the time, far more than it is today due to the rise of new media technologies such as television and the internet. It would be the combination of illustration and painted colours that lifted these pieces off the page and attracted people's attention around European city centres as they went about their daily lives.

The location for this Hamlet show can be seen at the bottom of the poster, where it says Theatre Sarah Bernhardt. She became a well known celebrity within Paris cultural circles and would have been a particularly hard working individual in order to run these productions whilst also acting within them as well, often as one of the leads. Thankfully, we are able to celebrate her achievements with the help of Mucha who left behind a number of portraits of her, as well as providing examples of the shows in which she starred. He himself was interested in theatre and found an obvious link between it and the visual arts industry in which he himself was so heavily involved. Many other artists over the centuries have actually become involved in designing the theatre sets themselves and that provides a wonderful meeting of different creative minds.