Harlequin (1920) by Juan Gris

Harlequin - Juan Gris - 1920

Artwork Information

ArtistJuan Gris
Art MovementCubism
Current LocationMusée d'Art moderne de Céret, Ceret, France

About Harlequin

The artwork “Harlequin” by the artist Juan Gris dates back to 1920 and is a product of the Cubist art movement, categorized as a sketch and study. This piece is currently housed in the Musée d’Art moderne de Céret in Ceret, France. The title suggests the figure depicted is a harlequin, a classical character often represented in the commedia dell’arte with a distinctive checkered costume.

In this piece, the harlequin is depicted through the geometric fragmentation characterizing Cubism. The figure is composed of a series of interlocking planes and shapes, creating a sense of dimensionality within a flattened pictorial space. The monochromatic palette is punctuated with shades of blue, hinting at the traditional elements of the harlequin’s attire, such as the checkered patterns, which are suggested by the blocks of color and linear elements. Despite the abstract approach, the essential attributes of the harlequin—the patterned costume and the pose—are discernible. The figure seems to be in a relaxed, perhaps seated position, with one arm draped over an adjacent shape, suggesting a chair or some form of support. The facial features, while stylized, convey an expression that is both enigmatic and engaging, typical of the Cubist effort to represent multiple perspectives simultaneously.

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