Romeo and Juliet in painting

Romeo and Juliet is a five-part tragedy written by the English playwright William Shakespeare in 1597. The story takes place in Verona, Italy. It is an impossible love between Romeo and Juliet due to a feud between their two families : The Montagues and the Capulet. The scene when Romeo confessed his love to Juliet on the balcony is an iconic scene. This story inspired painters namely the Pre- Raphaelites (for instance, Sir Frank Dicksee).

« A group of masked Montagues risk further conflict by gatecrashing a Capulet party. A young lovesick Romeo Montague falls instantly in love with Juliet Capulet, who is due to marry her father’s choice, the County Paris. With the help of Juliet’s nurse, the women arrange for the couple to marry the next day, but Romeo’s attempt to halt a street fight leads to the death of Juliet’s own cousin, Tybalt, for which Romeo is banished. In a desperate attempt to be reunited with Romeo, Juliet follows the Friar’s plot and fakes her own death. The message fails to reach Romeo, and believing Juliet dead, he takes his life in her tomb. Juliet wakes to find Romeo’s corpse beside her and kills herself. The grieving family agree to end their feud. »

This tragedy inspired cinema with the wonderful movie « West side story » directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins in 1961 and starring Natalie Wood (Maria), George Chakiris (Tony) and Rita Moreno. The story is transposed in the United States (New York) and opposes two rivaling Latino gangs : The jets (Tony) and the Sharks (Maria).

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