One of the most popular plays that have been widely translated into illustration is the story of Romeo and Juliet. An artist, such as Frank Dicksee, brings the tragic love of these two young people to life in his depictions of the infamous balcony scene. Among fantasy artists like Walter Crane, however, A Midsummer's Night Dream offers far more material for his work. Shakespeare's descriptions of fairies, elves, and pixies are credited for the current iconic look that these mythical creatures possess in art around the world.
Strangely, one of the most popular and sympathetic characters portrayed by Shakespearean art is one that was a relatively minor character. Ophelia from Hamlet has been rendered in delicate detail by a variety of famous artists, including John William Waterhouse and Arthur Hughes, where her unrequited love for unfortunate Hamlet is immortalized. These paintings are sensitive studies of tragic beauty and frequently feature her in the gentle repose of death or looking longingly back at the viewer as though wishing that she could change her fate.
Shakespearean plays have also been addressed in modern works, inspiring artists such as Pablo Picasso in his work 'The Lovers' and other prominent artists around the world. For most artists and collectors, the symbolism and imagery of this playwright's work is a subject that could be examined throughout the ages and still reveal surprising traits of the human psyche.