Friday, October 4, 2013

Drawing of the Day: A Puppet Showman, Seventeenth Century

A Puppet Showman
Jean Berain
The British Museum

This work of watercolor is one of a series of eight which depicted Commedia dell’Arte characters.  Attributed to Jean Berain (after a century of being attributed to Marcellus Laroon II), the series dates between 1640-1711.  It’s likely that these drawings were made as studies for larger-scale paintings.  We do know that the series was used as inspiration for a set of engravings which were published in the Eighteenth Century.  

The image above depicts a puppet showman posed on a platform.
  He holds a wand or flute to which he points and is costumed in a wide-brimmed hat, a doublet, petticoat breeches and a pink cloak.  Curiously, he wears a necklace of teeth around his neck.  We see behind him, his fit-up and two puppets.  They are, of course, Mr. Punch and his wife, Judy.
The British Museum acquired the series in 1852.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is a picture of a dentis. The teeth around his neck are successful extractions, the instrument in his had opens the mouth and the puppets were used as a distraction for the patient.