Ophelia (Pause for Thought): Pierre Auguste Cot

Pierre Auguste Cot: Ophelia (Pause for Thought)

Ophelia (Pause for Thought) is a painting from 1870 by artist Pierre Auguste Cot depicting Ophelia from the Shakespeare play Hamlet. Cot was a French Academic painter and firm friends with another Academician, Bouguereau. They share a similar artistic style, but Cot displays in this painting at least a sensitivity to the psychological, while Bouguereau was more concerned with idealisation.

Here is the tragic figure, Ophelia, Hamlet’s spurned lover who was to commit suicide. She looks up at us from her reading to consider it. She is looking directly at us and perhaps we are placed by the artist in the position of Hamlet.

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