Jan 2, 2015
May 25, 2010

Shakespearean Equation: Hamlet

Shakespearean Equation: Hamlet


Man Ray

(American, 1890–1976)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 55.9 x 66 x 3.9 cm (22 x 26 x 1 9/16 in.); Unframed: 40.5 x 51 cm (15 15/16 x 20 1/16 in.)

Bequest of Lockwood Thompson 1992.301

Did you know?

Man Ray's tombstone is inscribed, "Unconcerned but not indifferent."


In 1934, Man Ray photographed a collection of three-dimensional mathematical objects at the Institute Henry Poincaré in Paris. These photographs became the basis for Ray's Shakespearean Equation painting series. Ray's paintings of the mathematical objects emphasize their form through dramatic contrasts of light and dark, while also imbuing the objects with human-like qualities. Here, Ray's painting from a tetrahedron model photograph is entitled Hamlet. The shape of the tetrahedron is suggestive of female anatomy, perhaps referencing Hamlet's fraught relationships with women.

See also
American - Painting
Type of artwork: 
Oil on canvas

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