October 26–December 16, 2001

Dr. Solomon Kiefer, the curator of "The Myth and Madness of Ophelia," has gathered works from the Mead's collection and borrowed from 17 private and public collections. The greatest number will come from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., highlighting the historic association between Amherst College and the Folger, founded by an Amherst alumnus and overseen by the Trustees of Amherst College. The exhibition will feature interpretations of Ophelia by a diverse range of artists, including Benjamin West, Eugène Delacroix, Edward Steichen and Alfred Hitchcock. Among the 10 women represented in the show are Julia Margaret Cameron, Gwen John and Louise Bourgeois.

"The Myth and Madness of Ophelia" explores the representation of "the fair Ophelia" from her appearance in 18th-century illustrated editions of Hamlet to her most recent appropriations in art and popular culture. Mythologized over time, identified with madness and changing concepts of femininity, Hamlet's Ophelia is one of the most intriguing and popular Shakespearean characters represented in the visual arts.


Tuesday, November 6, 2001, 12:15 p.m.
The Myth and Madness of Ophelia
Gallery Talk - Carol Solomon Kiefer
Visiting Curator

Tuesday, November 13, 2001, 7:00 p.m.
Lecture - Stirn Auditorium
H. R. Coursen '54
University of Maine, Augusta
Ophelia in Performance

Film Series
Stirn Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

  • Monday, November 5, 2001
    Hamlet (1948), Laurence Olivier (Dir.)
    Laurence Olivier (Hamlet)
    Jean Simmons (Ophelia)
  • Monday, November 12, 2001
    Vertigo (1958), Alfred Hitchcock (Dir.)
    James Stewart, Kim Novak
  • Monday, November 26, 2001
    Hamlet (1990), Franco Zeffirelli (Dir.)
    Mel Gibson (Hamlet),
    Helena Bonham-Carter (Ophelia)
  • Monday, December 3, 2001
    Hamlet (2000), Michael Almereyda (Dir.)
    Ethan Hawke (Hamlet)
    Julia Stiles (Ophelia)
    Michael Almereyda will be present for this screening and will participate in A Conversation with the Director