Scene from Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" (Katharina and Petruchio)
Washington Allston, American, 1779 - 1843
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The figures in this meticulously executed scene respond with a variety of emotions to a plan by Petruchio to subdue his argumentative new wife. Proclaiming that her new dress is not good enough, he threatens the tailor. Katharina's atypical composure suggests Petruchio's success in "taming" her temper. Best known for biblical history pictures, romantic portraits, and landscapes, Allston was also a poet and novelist. His interest in Shakespeare undoubtedly was stimulated by his close friendship with Shakespearean scholar Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Not long before this picture was painted, the two men had toured Italy, where Allston learned to emulate the lustrous glazes and jewel-like colors of Venetian painting.