standing figure with white hair, bushy white eyebrows, large white moustache, wearing a hat with a rounded top, colorful jacket and knickers, and one red stocking and one green stocking, with orange shoes, holding a walking stick; text printed at bottom

Polichinelle, 1876

Not on Viewexpand_more

This aged, clownish military officer is Polichinelle, most-commonly known to English-speaking audiences from the raucous Punch & Judy puppet shows in which the characters whack each other with sticks. He grew out of a long theatrical tradition called the "Commedia dell’Arte," which attracted the attention of generations of artists for its lively—often bawdy—action, flamboyant costumes, and revealing truths. When Édouard Manet saw that most of his work had been rejected by the jury of the 1874 Paris salon exhibition, he decided to promote himself by giving away thousands of impressions of this print. Unfortunately, the police banned its publication, thinking Polichinelle was a caricature of France’s newly-elected president, a general who had used brutal force to crush public protests three years earlier. How telling that they saw their pompous leader in the image and feared that he was so weak that it could undermine his authority.

Details
Title
Polichinelle
Artist Life
1832 - 1883
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2014.118.2
Provenance
(Sale, Swann Galleries, New York, September 20, 2012, lot 230); (James Bergquist, Newton, Mass., 2012-14); sold to MIA. 2014.
Catalogue Raisonne
M-N 87; Melot N.83; Guérin 79 iiib/iiib; Harris 80 iiib/iiib
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Show Detail

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.

standing figure with white hair, bushy white eyebrows, large white moustache, wearing a hat with a rounded top, colorful jacket and knickers, and one red stocking and one green stocking, with orange shoes, holding a walking stick; text printed at bottom