James Ensor: Northern European Art and the Carnivalesque
The oeuvre of the Belgian painter James Ensor was populated with grotesque imagery and charged with an intense personal vision. In light of these aspects of his style, Ensor's best known paintings, created during the 1880's, are cited as seminal examples of modern Expressionism popularized in the early decades of the twentieth century. However, Ensor's art also exists within a specific cultural context that adds meaning and further significance to the work. Renowned early Flemish painters Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516) and Pieter Bruegel (1529-1569) created works that share points of form and content with Ensor. Recognizing the relationship of Ensor to his precursors is crucial to understanding his works, many of which relate to regional, national, and political identity. A detailed analysis of how the Flemish art of the past informs Ensor will form a foundation from which I will then proceed to provide a full view of the intellectual intent and personal experiences that underlie his unique style. A crucial point of reference for this study is the concept of the carnivalesque articulated by Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin's (1895-1975) in his important work, Rabelais and His World (I 965). This concept serves as a bridge connecting the earlier Renaissance painters Bosch and Bruegel to Ensor.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities; Art, Belgian; Carnival in art; Ensor, James -- 1860-1949 -- Criticism and interpretation
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Dwyer, Bryce, "James Ensor: Northern European Art and the Carnivalesque" (2006). HIM 1990-2015. 587.