Pierrot and Skeleton in a Yellow Robe

James Ensor  Pierrot and Skeleton in a Yellow Robe

In 'Pierrot and Skeleton in a Yellow Robe' Ensor managed to combine his interest for the still life and his predilection for travesty in a rather original manner. The still life-like setting is transgressed. As a result, the painting takes on a fantastic character and 'dead objects' function like living organisms. From a stylistic point of view this work is also very characteristic of Ensor. During the 1890s Ensor liked to paint on smaller canvases. In these more intimate works the graphic element is more obvious, as is the case in this painting. The colours are clear and fresh, thus tempering the subject's morbid dimension to some extent, in favour of the grotesque and the fantastic. Ensor himself was traumatized by a number of frays with the law: his father's bankruptcy in 1875 and a court case brought against his mother due to copyright infringement in 1892-1893. It is probable that Pierrot and Skeleton in a Yellow Robe is related to this trauma. In this work imagination, the clear use of colour and Ensor's technical potential all come together marvellously.


H: 38 cm
W: 48 cm


Oil on canvas