June 05, 2005

Maschere della Commedia

I appear to have found my way on to the mailing list of a Venetian artist named Daniele Scarpa Kos. His latest mail announced an exhibition entitled Maschere della Sistema, maschere della Commedia, which, I’ve just realised, I’m rather too late in mentioning, as it ran at the Spazio Ponte delle Latte in Venice from May 25th-30th. His mail was accompanied by an image which fits in nicely with the decor of this page: two details from it follow below—click on them to see the full picture.

Detail from L'Atelier dei maschere... by Daniele Scarpa Kos.


Detail from L'Atelier dei maschere... by Daniele Scarpa Kos.

This picture reminded me of a page I’d bookmarked a couple of months ago, which is about a series of images, in the form, I guess, of collectable prints or cards, which are on the theme of Pulcinella. One of these (shown below) was by Luigi Serafini, whose more extensive work on the same subject, La Pulcinellopedia Piccola, I have mentioned before.

Luigi Serafini's contribution to the '400 volte Pulcinella' series.

This, in turn, prompted me to search more generally for images of Pulcinella and his fellow Commedia dell’Arte cast-members. Among the pictures this turned up were some ink & wash sketches by Giandomenico Tiepolo (1727-1804), son of the better-known Giambattista Tiepolo. The younger Tiepolo apparently followed Pulcinella’s misadventures over the course of about a hundred drawings. Details from two of these (found here & here respectively) follow below.

Detail from 'Pulcinello learns to walk,' sketch by Giandomenico Tiepolo, 1790s?


Detail from 'Pulcinella and the Ostriches,' sketch by Giandomenico Tiepolo, 1800.

One more intriguing set of Commedia-themed images I discovered this morning were those by Maurice Sand (1823-89, son of ‘George’). In 1862, he published a book on the subject of the Commedia entitled Masques et bouffons, which included twenty-five watercolours of its characters. I picked out two of these (found on this page) to reproduce here:

Watercolour drawing of Pantalone, by Maurice Sand, ca. 1862.


Watercolour drawing of Fritellino, by Maurice Sand, ca. 1862.


Posted by misteraitch at June 5, 2005 09:43 AM

This is all so delightful, as usual. I love to visit your site. Grazie.

Posted by: Maridan' on June 6, 2005 04:20 PM

These pictures all reveal the darker side of the human experience, which is the root from which all comedy springs - the meanness of spirit, the mendacity, the treachery that is tragedy for the victim but which makes the rest of us laugh.

Posted by: Dick Jones on June 13, 2005 06:50 AM

The Serafini reminds me of that great scene in Play it Again, Sam, in the pizzeria kitchen:
- Imbecile! Imbecile!

Posted by: bhikku on June 19, 2005 10:41 PM
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