Scene from Shakespeare's "King John" (Hubert and Arthur)

Christian Schuessele (Schussele), American (born France), 1824/26 - 1879

Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America


Oil on canvas

62 5/8 × 46 inches (159.1 × 116.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of R. A. Ellison, 1979

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This picture portrays a critical moment from act 4, scene 1 of "King John", one of Shakespeare's dramatizations of medieval English history. Young Prince Arthur tries to dissuade the king's chamberlain, Hubert, from following John's order to blind him with a hot poker. Schuessele deploys a full range of body language and facial expression to visualize the emotional conflict caused by the disparity between the king's order and the close relationship that had developed between Hubert and Arthur. In the end, Hubert pretends Arthur is dead to save him from this awful fate. Born in Alsace, Schuessele immigrated to Philadelphia in 1848 and later taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where his student and successor was Thomas Eakins.