Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
Pierrot is a stock character of pantomime and commedia dell’arte, a semi-improvised form of Italian masked theater that had a huge impact on the arts of Europe. It’s one of the oldest forms of clowning. And by clowning, I don’t mean the sort of half-decent party clown, I mean the highly difficult art form that often requires actors to wear masks, do acrobatics and be funny- all the same time. Respect clowns. It’s a darn hard art form.
Pierrot developed in the late seventeenth-century, making him a younger stock character than most of the other stock male characters in commedia dell’arte. Interestingly, Pierrot has evolved over the years. He started out as a naive buffoon, pining after the beautiful Columbina, but inevitably losing out to Harlequin (another stock character) and never learning his lesson. Over time though, the sort of innocence of Pierott became seen as a sympathetic character.
Interestingly, Pierrot is also heavily featured in artwork. Often see as representing the innocence of the artist in the cruel unforgiving world. It also helps, not doubt, that his traditional outfit is so distinct- white face, white smock, loose white pants. I love how the costumes of commedia dell’arte stock characters are so distinct. You know immediately who is who which was, one should note, kind of the point.
One of these day’s I’ll do Harlequin or Columbina, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet.
Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Obviously, today’s Pierott inspired outfit is based on Pierott’s traditional outfit of white smock, loose white pants, fluffy buttons, hat and ruff around his neck. I modified it, obviously, but that’s the basic theme. Sometime around the 1920s, Pierott’s costume added black to the white. You don’t see it much before that. There’s also some gender-bending in that era where you see very feminine Pierott images appearing. So, my lady costume for Pierott isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility.
On the Blog: More Renaissance Inspired & More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: Wikipedia’s long article on Pierott. Quick Overview of commedia dell’arte, & TV Tropes nice overview of Stock Characters in commedia dell’arte.
A few of my favorite Pierott’s in art include- Schwarzer Pierrot from 1908 by Fritz Erler, Pierrot & Arlecine (Harlequinn) from 1914 by Russian artist Alexandre Jacovleff, and Self-portrait as Piero from 1911 by Zinaida Serebriakova. If you’re interested in checking out a few more of the clown.
I actually have a strange affection in my heart for masked theater. If you can actually find some that is well done, it’s a really fascinating art form. I digress.
Do you like clowns? Do they freak you out? (No shame if they do.) I personally am cool with clowns (and have known a few), but I admit that the sterotypical clown outfits do nothing for me.