Millennium Shakespeare Art

Part of the beauty of this series of books is the fact that each set of art in each book is also painted, by a different artist from a different country worldwide and also in different mediums, from oils, Gouache, Acrylics, Water colours, pencils and more, each artist has given an expression of their artistic appreciation of Shakespeare's works and their own culture within the art to celebrate the Millennium Shakespeare.

You can find the books on sale at good book stores everywhere and at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford, England.

Please take your time and review some of the beautiful artwork which has taken over 10 years to produce.

The aim of the Millennium Shakespeare is to re-introduce Shakespeare in a beautiful and exciting way.

There will be 228 works of ART in the complete series. The largest single collection of art for Shakespeare in one project ever!

With the recent success of the release of the Millennium Shakespeare April 2006 at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford and Bologna Book fair in Italy the Millennium Shakespeare, abbreviated to MS on here, has sold over 2,000,000 copies of the released titles.

MS is a phenomenal success and the MS is likely to become the definitive version of a modern introduction in Prose, complimented with art from 38 artists worldwide.

Keeping up with demand has been difficult with up to 9 new titles released each year from 2006 until the entire MS canon is published.

The MS series was created by author and visionary Michael J. Stewart from Suffolk in England and has been a work in progress for about 12 or more years. The original idea came back in 1985 while studying Shakespeare in preparation to attend one of the 12 accredited acting schools in the UK. Michael was offered a place at the Guildford School of Acting and Dance and accepted the place during 1989. Michael began the series full time in 1996.

Edited by Jeffrey Kahan (Ph.D. Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham); Assistant Professor, University of La Verne.

It is expected that the MS series will be completed within about 4 years. In addition to adapting the entire canon into modern prose, Michael's idea was to commission artists from 38 countries, each artist to paint a series of art representing each title, thus having a world collaboration of art and literature. Each artist offers an expression of their own culture while representing the philosophical values within each story.

The first three titles which have sold over 2,000,000 copies worldwide are; King Lear, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Winter's Tale


Whenever the word ‘culture’ arises, inevitably the name of Shakespeare bubbles quickly to the surface and fuses itself within the dialogue or subject as though the name itself belongs to each and every one of us, and it does. Shakespeare is not for the educated person, but for the person who wants to be educated. A clear and fundamental difference of understanding. When a subject is hijacked by an organisation or group and only kept for its own use and ego then the process of enlightenment is significantly reduced. So often, culture is hijacked by institutions who claim to spread enlightenment but fail to deliver.

Millennium Shakespeare has built upon the dynamic process of commissioning artists in many countries throughout the world where existing and new creative forces and energies continue to develop. The Millennium Shakespeare ART EXHIBITIONS [MSAE] continue to expand this ideology and focus through the appreciation of art and literature. With the support of all its partners from creative to funding, MSAE will continue to leave a legacy in the art world in a most unique way.

I purchased a second hand book some fifteen years ago, dated 1941, with introductions by Sir R. W. Livingstone, at that time president of the Corpus Christi College of Oxford. The first part of the preface read something like this.

‘Some books and some persons belong to the general inheritance of all educated men. It would be strange to know nothing of Shakespeare or of Napoleon; yet it is quite as strange to know nothing of Socrates, the Greek philosopher’.

The book was indeed a ‘Portrait of Socrates’ which included translations of ‘The Apology’, ‘Crito’, and Phaedo’. Three works, each in themselves a masterpiece.

Any introduction to any literary works by any renowned author is aimed at one area of enlightenment. To educate; to teach; to instruct; to provide knowledge of the unknown. To provide a discovery of that which the pupil has yet no knowledge but is willing to seek.

It goes on to mention that we meet a great man ‘Socrates’, and without realising we discover more than just a great man, but we discover that mankind takes a step forward and finds himself in a new world. The discoveries are not one of material, such as those of fire or the boat or printing or electricity or natural selection, important though they are, but of something more fundamental. A new outlook, a new attitude to life in which possibilities of endless development is contained.

A tiny seed, which is the parent of a forest, a stone, flung into the waters whose ripple is carried to the remotest shores. Socrates lived in the greatest and most exciting period in his country’s history, as too did William Shakespeare living on through his words and his plays some four hundred years ago. His genius has never been equalled and his writings show an extraordinary level of insight into the human experience.

The introduction further expounds that, at the moment of the discovery of the knowledge, the importance of such discoveries may not be realised, and certainly their ultimate effects will be unguessed, but, once the step forward is taken, the world is changed forever.

Shakespeare too, lived in a time of expansion, exploration, conquest and discovery. England was at that time a burgeoning power. Queen Elizabeth I reigned with a mighty hand and a vision which was clear, bringing England to the edge of glory. It was a time of new pride for the English nation and a time of new discovery for the English language.

MSAE provides the vehicle for spreading the artistic, educational, and cultural inspiration behind Shakespeare’s works. Bringing the world together in cultural harmony, understanding and literary knowledge, is not a new idea, however it has become a focus area within the world of art, literature and culture. As the world is easier to navigate so too internationalism and the sharing of cultural ideas is becoming easier more desirable, yet more competitive offering more exciting opportunities to everyone who participates and receives these cultural offerings.

The MSAE concentrates on bringing together artists from many countries around the world including the United Kingdom, people of all faiths and ideologies, racial and social backgrounds who can share and participate in the cultural exchange.

MSAE is on a grand scale and its purpose is to put Shakespeare in the realm of a broader artistic vision. Shakespeare has never been only about theatre! His works transcend all artistic boundaries new and old, incorporating new ideals which gel with old philosophies. Our past is our future and our future relies on the past for learning, sharing, experiencing, understanding and bringing together the ideology of the human condition no matter from where in all its areas of creativity.

One of the aims of MSAE is to bring new, young and modern audiences into the world of Shakespeare through art and at all levels of social agendas, opening discussion while assisting cohesion between cultural and social values. MSAE intends the imagery through art to illuminate the mind, inspire, encourage and assist in bringing about social understanding, cohesion and change for the good. Philosophical values are important tools for new generations, enabling them to communicate, understand, interact and accept new ideologies which can be accessed through MSAE's art and The Millennium Shakespeare's literature. During the early development and creation of Millennium Shakespeare a discovery was made…

Millennium Shakespeare is not jut about the brilliance of one man, although the theme of the Millennium Shakespeare has to be about the cultural contribution of the man Shakespeare and his contribution on the world stage as possibly the most gifted poet and playwright to have lived. It offers opportunity through the MSAE to audiences and artists from the United Kingdom and countries around the world such as Iran, India, China, Japan, Africa, Korea, Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Ukraine, and many more countries (at least 35+) who when given the opportunity to express their artistic talent find no better subject to do so than in that of Shakespeare.

Whilst ‘international’ maybe a state of mind, ‘international’ is also a dynamic thought, which includes that of yesterdays ideas, cultures and histories, which have become more necessary in today’s world than ever, by way of collaboration and investigation through the arts, literature and world culture. Shakespeare was deeply rooted and emerged in cultural-ism before we, in this modern world even thought of the word, developing thoughts, imaginations, emotions, ideals and philosophies of many nations through his very own words many of which he coined himself.

The MSAE offers new expression saturating the cultural, visionary and emotional senses through new interpretations of Hi-Art, in the grand tradition, but in a modern contemporary setting while utilizing traditional and proven elements of classicism through art. International exchange has taken place and continues to do so through MSAE. These are the reasons for international cooperation and interpretation, whilst at the same time uniting common thought with understanding through imagery on an international level combining the ‘international’ with regional and national, young with old, learned and the unlearned, disadvantaged with the advantaged, traditional with contemporary whilst maintaining the highest ideals in the enlightenment of the artist and audiences alike from what the artist expresses.

Millennium Shakespeare already has vast experience working with international artists, through its experience, at ground level with a hands on approach from its inception, working with talented young unknown artists as well as highly renowned, experienced artists, some of which are the finest in their sphere. The MSAE intends to assist and inspire artists at all social levels using the visionary and imaginary senses to thrust creativity forward. To assist and pass on learned knowledge, experience and information to new artists wishing to participate in the world of art, culture and creativity. Inspiration between audience and artist will transcend from the seed of thought to the visionary and physical ideal becoming an important feature of MSAE.

Discussing the work of national and international artists who contribute to MSAE is key to progression and it is intended that MSAE will have open discussions on the art that is created, opening channels of new discussion and understanding. Shakespeare works cover numerous, almost unlimited array of subjects, allowing profound discovery, always excellent food for discussion, passion, argument, deliberation and ultimately creation. There is no better subject to stimulate the senses than Shakespeare.

The MSAE aim is to encourage new artists with limited experience as well as utilizing the artist who has unprecedented knowledge and experience which can be passed on, in many different ways through mechanisms of vision, discussion, and shared intellectual thought of the established individual independent artist to the dynamic visionary energy of younger artists.

New ideas which will transcend from both young and the experienced artist and audiences broadening horizons to all who experience MSAE whether or not they are artists in their own right, but merely wishing to experience art in solace or discovery. Millennium Shakespeare will be for those who wish to open the door and turn on the light of intellectual and creative discovery.

MSAE aims to be unique in its field of encouraging artists and audiences to explore new experiences and emotions, through Shakespeare. Aiming at the highest level is an accepted ideology of creative excelence. Seeking to produce the highest standard of work is paramount in achieving artistic excellence of the highest order. We may not always achieve or reach the highest order but keeping our sights set high encourages artists and audiences to excel wherever possible.

Focusing on cultural communication is key to MSAE. Challenging the thought process of art is pivotal to providing a unique art experience, defining strategic, educational, and socially accessible dynamic and creative art.

MSAE will build interesting culturally sound relationships with, regional, national and international artists and partners and will continue to do so raising the level of participation wherever possible.

The MSAE prides itself on providing the best possible quality product in relation to art, culture, literary excellence, creativity and accessibility, reaching the maximum audience possible in order to stimulate conscious and even sub conscious thought and debate of the artistic endeavour.

The artistic value of MSAE is not restricted in its vision or creative endeavour to produce the highest standards. Attaining excellence is paramount and initiatives to continue to keep the high standards are continuously monitored at all stages of development, creativeness and implementation.

MSAE is at the forefront of creative energy and already participates in diversity and inclusion wherever and whenever possible. MSAE is by its very nature an art form that is only achieved by virtue of its existing culturally diverse inclusive creative program and goals. Creativity and energy arising from socially and creatively challenged artists from all walks of life, at all social levels has been the theme of MSAE.

The thrust of MSAE is to promote art through artists in a cultural way including assisting artists from a huge variety of other geo-political arenas, where financial and social barriers exist who will contribute and whom will share ideas on a continuous journey in communication, understanding, common ideologies, common values, and artistic development no matter what race, religion, creed, gender, class, disability or economic disadvantage they come from while interacting creatively through the lens of Shakespeare, literature and the arts.

It is intended that MSAE will become a beacon for regional, national and international creativity participating in sharing goals of artistic excellence, understanding and literary discovery beginning a new chapter of the highest order in creativity and participation possible through Shakespeare and art.

Through the MSAE the audience will share enlightenment of the visual experience submerged in the artist energy which will assist elevation and emotion while the audience participates in the visual senses of Shakespeare’s works represented through new and original art from Millennium Shakespeare Art Exhibition(s) [MSAE].

Millennium Shakespeare Gallery

Click here to visit Millenium Shakespere gallery

^ Top

Previous page: Rights
Next page: Millennium Shakespeare Gallery