Archive for james ensor

Masquerade – A celebration of Masks

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , , , on June 3, 2011 by echostains

It’s been a while since I posted.  I have been busy  compiling another video – a  a celebration of masks from history, cultures and of course art.  The most prolific artist who featured a lot of masks in his work was probably James Ensor ( 1860 –  1949) and many of his mask paintings are featured in this video. 

Picasso, Matisse and Watteau also appear in the video, along with masks from different cultures.  There’s even a few quirky ones (knitted) which I’ve added and a few TV characters who are famous for wearing masks.  Hope you enjoy the video (and recognise some of the paintings)

Many image credits here;-

Picasso here here here

Pietro Longhi here  and here Magritte here Banksy here   Eileen Agar here  and here Salvador Mayol

Thomas Eakins    Louis Emile Durandelle   Man Ray Brancusi  Zeng Fanzhi  Watteau Diane Dooley Natalie Holland

Green Man  Abriginal  and here  Chinese, Japanese and Greek mask here  American Indian Indian  Roman Chinese


Another Poetry challenge over on Bookstains!  Just click and go!


Posted in DESIGN, HISTORY with tags , , , on May 5, 2010 by echostains

Beautiful Scaramouche mask

There’s something thrilling about the wearing of masks: mysterious and glamorous.  The artist James Ensor (whom I recently wrote about) incorporated them into his paintings.  The Phantom of the Opera, Zorro, Batman and Robin, and the ancient Sybils of Rome all wore masks.  But the place which is synonymous with mask wearing is of course Venice.


The phantom

I went to Venice once, many years ago.  The shops were awash with masks.  Masks of every shape and size and made from all different types of materials, including leather.  I still have the pair of ceramic mask earings – a reminder of that trip.

Carnival dressing up

The Venetian masks are a many centuries old tradition – mostly worn during the Carnival of Venice.  Wearing them  allowed the wearer to mix  and act freely with others without social barriers (and sometimes without etiquette!)


Just one of the many masks from the Mask Society

This beautiful video shows a huge variety of masks.  the music is by Guisseppe Nabucodonosor ‘The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves’

 Youtube feature by  juliane852

Scaramouche mask from here

The Venetian Mask Society here plenty of gorgeous masks here

Film by juliane8part2

Happy Birthday James Ensor!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , on April 13, 2010 by echostains

Ensor's self portrait

Today is the birthday of Belgian artist James Ensor (b. 1860 -1949).   Ensor caused great scandal with a painting he painted in 1888 – 89 called ‘Entry of Christ into Brussels’.  A lot of his work was rejected in the late 1800s, though he continued to exhibit. He did eventually gain acceptance with ‘The Lamp Boy’  in 1895.

The Drunkards

Ensor’s early style was realistic with works like ‘The Drunkards’ in 1885.   His palette became bright and his subject matter quite bizarre.  He started to introduce masks into his works.  ‘The skeletons fighting over the Hanged man’ for example feature the artists fascination with masks.  Puppetry and carnivals are also themes employed by Ensor in his later allogorical work.

Christ's entry into Brussels

Entry of Christ into Brussels was not publicly displayed until 1929 and is considered an example of 20th century expressionism.  The picture is shows a carnival of threatening masks  which confront the viewer.  the crowd consists of member of Ensor’s family, historical figures, including politicians.  Christ on a donkey proceeds through the mocking crowd – a victim of their jibes.

two skeletons fighting over a hanged man

Ensor influenced quite a number of artists including Paul Klee and Alfred Kubin, as well as expressionist and surrealist artists.

Lots of his work can be found here

A biography of this artist can be found here