|Cirque Fernando: the Equestrian, 1887-88|
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. The Cirque Fernando
was the English predecessor to the Cirque
One of the most outstanding French circuses was the Medrano Circus. Its home was a large, round, stadium-like theater in the Paris neighborhood of Montmartre. Montmartre was likewise the favored venue for artists shortly after the turn of the century, and the artist who lived there most responsible for integrating the circus into art was Pablo Picasso. He wasn't the first to discover circus performers as suitable painting subjects. Toulouse-Lautrec, for instance, had painted circus equestirans as early as 1887. But like us all, Picasso loved the circus. More than that, he loved the vagabond people who performed there. Around 1905-06, he seems entirely preoccupied with them in fact. This coincides with his Rose Period, and it would seem the circus may have been responsible for lifting him out of the melancholy funk of his Blue Period, not that there isn't a certain dismal quality to some of his circus subjects, but it seems to be that of a sweeter sort.
|The Acrobat's Family |
with a Monkey,m 1905,
|Family of Saltimbanques, 1905,|