Hamlet and Horatio Before the Gravediggers (Hamlet et Horatio Devant les Fossoyeurs), from the Hamlet series
Two laborers preparing Ophelia’s grave provide comic relief when they unearth and banter about the skull of Yorick, a court jester Hamlet had known as a child. Touched by memories, Hamlet sighs and says, “Alas, poor Yorick!”
Delacroix first developed this composition in 1839 for an oil painting. He adopted it for the lithograph with minor adjustments, such as a more dynamic stance and greater prominence for Hamlet’s figure.