Bloodied and half-naked: 400 years of Shakespeare in posters

Story highlights

  • "Presenting Shakespeare" showcases 1,100 outstanding posters from 55 countries
  • April 23 marks 400 years since the death of the Bard

(CNN)Four hundred years after his death, William Shakespeare is the most performed playwright in history.

And just as long as the Bard has inspired theater companies to bring his works to the stage, he has moved visionary designers and artists to create bold and memorable posters to advertise them.
    "Presenting Shakespeare," a recent release from Princeton Architectural Press, shines a light on these artists, bringing together 1,100 posters from 55 countries.
    Director Juliet Taymor writes in the book's introduction: "Like the director and the stage designer, the poster artist searches for emblematic clues in Shakespeare's poetry, from its fantastical and graphic imagery presented in both word and action, and also from the overarching political, psychological, and philosophical themes of the play."
    Together, the posters selected span every major artistic movement and style, from brash Western caricature (including an illustration by Hunter S. Thompson favorite Ralph Steadman) and Pop Art to Soviet-era minimalism and conceptual photography.
    Check out the gallery above for the most creative, provocative and puzzling posters from productions around the world.
    "Presenting Shakespeare" by Mirko Ilic and Steven Heller (Princeton Architectural Press) is out now.