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Jean-Joseph Marie Carriès

The Man with Bells, called The Forlorn Jester

Artist

Jean-Joseph Marie Carriès
Lyons 1855 – Paris 1894

Title

The Man with Bells, called The Forlorn Jester

Date

1892

Materials

Glazed stoneware

Dimensions

31.5 x 37 x 30.5 cm

Credits

Purchase in memory of Patrice Bellanger, the Museum Campaign 1988-1993 Fund, inv. 2014.59

Collection

Western Art

Preferring the street to the Academy, Carriès drew inspiration from the “Court of Miracles” or slum neighbourhood that was home to his first ramshackle studio, as well as from literature – the romanticism of Hugo’s Gothic beggars and the naturalism of Zola’s characters, shut out of the modern world. Influenced by the Symbolists, Carriès was haunted by the image of the severed head, evocative of the sacrifice of martyrs such as Saint John the Baptist. The figures of the acrobat, the jester, the Harlequin, the Pierrot or the clown generate a double meaning in keeping with a mood of doleful irony. After his discovery of Japanese stoneware at the Exposition Universelle of 1878, Carriès developed a passion for the “virile porcelain,” which was as hard as stone. This pioneer represented a symbiosis of artist and artisan, the ideal of the new modernity.

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