Oude dame met maskers

The old lady with masks

By
James Ensor
Collection
Photographer
Hugo Maertens
License
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

About this artwork

James Ensor is one of the most original and bizarre artists in the history of art in Belgium. At the beginning of his career he painted interiors of middleclass citizens known as 'bourgeois salons'. Through the Brussels art circle 'Les Vingt' he was introduced to the irrational Symbolism of the French artist Odilon Redon. The papiermàché carnival masks sold in Ensor's mother's shop were an interesting source of inspiration for developing a highly personal imagery. It is more than likely that this 'Old Lady with Masks' was initially intended as a portrait. Ensor reworked the portrait by adding a multitude of masks that radically changed the atmosphere of the scene. It was shown in 1891 at the exhibition of 'Les Vingt' in Brussels this time with the title 'Le théàtre des masques' or 'Bouquet d'artifice'. This 'Old Lady with Masks' is intriguing on account of the remarkable contrast between the peaceful and gentle expression of the woman and the fearsome and threatening masks that surround her.

About the artist

About the collection

The old lady with masks
Photo number
0020341000
Inventory number
1969-B
The old lady with masks
Photo number
0020341000
Inventory number
1969-B
The old lady with masks
Photo number
0020341000
Inventory number
1969-B

More artworks

Period
Artwork type
Collection
Location