September 24, 2013

The Harlequinade Series III: "Pierrot Knows"


Picking up from the earlier paintings in this series, "Weeping Harlequin" and "Columbine Unresponsive", here comes "Pierrot Knows". I've decided to end the series with Pierrot and try out different mediums of art. 

Despite being a stock character, Pierrot's stage history is somewhat richer than the other characters in the Harlequinade. Pierrot started off as a servant in Italian theatre, standing on the sidelines of the action, dispensing advice to his masters who brush him off, and unsuccessfully trying to court his master's daughter Columbine. In the 17th century, he acquired a distinct personality from the busy social creatures around him; he is out of touch and isolated. Antoine Watteau's depiction of Pierrot would further influence the depiction of Pierrot later on.


Watteau's work and actors playing Pierrot eventually developed Pierrot's character from a buffoon into that of a sad clown. With his white face and costume suggesting innocence while bearing the pallor of the dead, Pierrot became the alter-ego of the alienated artist and of the French post-Revolutionary People struggling to secure a place in the bourgeois world, among others.

My Pierrot today though is thoroughly aware of his surroundings, and how he is perceived by others. The colour palette of "Pierrot Knows" is different to the previous two because I wanted to keep his white costume. I'm not very satisfied with how this one turned out, but oh well, practice makes for better paintings!

Image: here.

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