Arts Everyday Living: Valentine Day’s Week in Art—Shakespeare in Love Again (with Cleopatra)


Or murmuring “Where’s my serpent of old Nile?”

For so he calls me……

                                                                             Antony and Cleopatra, Act 1, Scene 5



Cleopatra was the original femme fatale, seducing first Julius Caesar and then Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s epic plays.   Here, though, British artist John William Waterhouse has visualized the Egyptian queen at a decisive moment, as she contemplates suicide to join her now deceased lover Antony.  Does Cleopatra seem resigned?  Realizing that death is preferable to imprisonment by her mortal enemy Octavius Caesar? Or is she still determined to somehow overcome the odds against her?

To learn more about J.W. Waterhouse (1849-1917), see my previous blogs:


Shakespeare in Love Again—Juliet

 Shakespeare in Love Again—Miranda and the Tempest

The Lady of Shalott


After J.W. Waterhouse, Cleopatra, 1888, illustration copied from original oil on canvas, published in contemporary weekly The Graphic Gallery of Shakespeare’s Heroines.

Background on Waterhouse is from J.W. Waterhouse by Peter Trippi, published by Phaidon, New York, 2002.


The above image is used solely for educational purposes.


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