Ferdinand Schmutzer was an exceptional artist known for creating splendid etchings, often using the wonderful photographs he produced at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century as references. His work encapsulates a unique blend of technical precision and artistic expression, capturing the essence of a moment with each carefully crafted line.

Ferdinand Schmutzer

Josef Kainz as Hamlet by Ferdinand Schmutzer

This etching by Ferdinand Schmutzer, portraying the German actor Josef Kainz as Hamlet, is a masterful representation of the actor’s character and the gravitas of the role he embodies. Schmutzer, known for his detailed etchings, captures the introspective intensity of Hamlet through Kainz’s piercing gaze. The actor’s eyes seem to reflect Hamlet’s troubled soul, contemplating the weight of existential dilemmas that define the character.

Ferdinand Schmutzer was an exceptional artist

Schmutzer’s technique is evident in the fine lines that sculpt Kainz’s face, creating a texture that suggests both the actor’s physical presence and the psychological depth of the role. The use of light and shadow in the etching adds a dramatic effect, emphasizing the brooding nature of Hamlet and the solemn mood of the scene. The dark attire and the stylized folds of the garment further dramatize the composition, hinting at the Elizabethan era, yet the portrait remains timeless, transcending specific historical settings.

This hand-signed etching is not just a likeness of Josef Kainz; it is a window into the actor’s interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s most complex characters.

One can appreciate Schmutzer’s ability to convey the essence of Kainz’s performance as Hamlet, immortalizing a moment of theatrical history. It stands as a compelling intersection of fine art and performing arts, inviting reflection on the enduring power of Shakespeare’s works and their capacity to be reinterpreted through different artistic lenses.

Schmutzer’ after’s to Volendam

Have a look at my collection of works from Schmutzer after his visits in Volendam, on view Spring 2024 at KUNSTHUIS André


  • Size (h w ): 32 x 32 cm
  • Creation Date: Circa 1906

To purchase this painting click HERE