Drawing, View of Masquerade Ball
This is a Drawing. We acquired it in 1911. Its medium is pen and black ink, brush and gray wash, watercolor, black chalk on white laid paper . It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.
Dancers in outrageous costumes and masks mingle in a lavish interior. This drawing likely depicts a Parisian vauxhall, which were public entertainment spaces that became fashionable in France in the late 1760s, that played host to art exhibitions, concerts, balls, and other public spectacles until the late 1770s. Iconic characters of the commedia dell’arte such as the hunchback Punchinello and the Pierrot dance amongst the crowd while on one side, a group of people are dressed as yew trees, likely referencing the Yew Tree Ball held at Versailles on 25 February 1745, where Louis XV came disguised as a yew tree. Delafosse may have modeled the costumes after designs by Louis-René Boquet or other costume designers working for the Menus plaisirs du roi or for the Académie royale de musique. The grandiose interior is in fact a capriccio, an imaginary or fantastical space overflowing with Jean-Charles Delafosse’s exuberant decorations in the Greek style, an early form of neoclassicism that emerged in the 1760s. Such highly finished drawings were likely owned by a collector interested in the licentious spectacles at Parisian vauxhalls.
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Cite this object as
Drawing, View of Masquerade Ball; Previously owned by Jean Léon Decloux (French, 1840–1929); France; pen and black ink, brush and gray wash, watercolor, black chalk on white laid paper ; 1911-28-38