Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth (1889) by John Singer Sargent

Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth - John Singer Sargent - 1889

Artwork Information

TitleEllen Terry as Lady Macbeth
ArtistJohn Singer Sargent
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions53.5 x 40.6 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationTate Gallery, London

About Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth

The artwork titled “Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth” is a remarkable oil on canvas painting by John Singer Sargent, executed in 1889. With dimensions measuring 53.5 by 40.6 cm, this portrait genre piece reflects the Impressionism art movement of its time. The artwork currently resides in the Tate Gallery in London.

In this evocative portrayal, Sargent captures the renowned actress Ellen Terry in the role of Lady Macbeth, a character from Shakespeare’s tragic play “Macbeth.” Terry is depicted in opulent stage costume, radiating a dramatic presence and intensity befitting her theatrical role. The artwork is infused with a dynamic and ethereal quality, highlighting Sargent’s adept use of light and shadow to convey both the physical brilliance of Terry’s elaborate costume and the psychological complexity of her character. Sargent’s brushwork is loose and expressive, contributing to the impression of movement and the sense of a fleeting, captured moment.

Echoes of a ghostly, assembled crowd can be discerned in the shadowy background, suggesting the ambiance of a theater and the presence of an audience. The rich, dark palette is punctuated by the gleaming golden and emerald hues of Terry’s gown, suggesting the regal and ominous nature of her character. The artwork bears the signature of the artist and a tender dedication to the subject, further personalizing this significant cultural artifact. Sargent’s interpretation of Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth stands as a testament to his skill and sensitivity as a portraitist, and an enduring homage to the power of theatrical performance.

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