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Chimaera, 1888

  • etching, paper
  • 91 x 62 mm
  • Inv. 1998-B-25

Public Domain

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Chimera is a figure in Greek mythology, born of the monstrous union between Typhon and Echidna. The mythical creature is usually represented with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a snake. Ensor probably based his work on the knob of a cover of an Oriental ornamental vase that was kept in the painter's studio or house; his childhood friend Willy Finch from Ostend has a realistic drawing of the same ornamental object (Tournai, Musée des Beaux-Arts). In Ensor's print, the head of the man on the right of the statue is possibly that of Ernest Rousseau.


James Ensor RKD VIAF Wikidata
Ostend 1860 - Ostend 1949

Title Chimaera
Date 1888
Period 19th century
Medium and support etching AAT
Signatures, inscriptions, and markings inscription bottom right: James Ensor 1888
inscription on the reverse: AT
inscription on the reverse: 9 / LD 25 / du chimère
Collection print room
Object type etching AAT
Inventory number 1998-B-25
Acquisition credit purchase
Taevernier, Auguste (coll.)
Current whereabouts Work currently not on display
IIIF Manifest
Art & Architecture Thesaurus 300056485 fantastic art AAT
300015637 portraits AAT
300189808 figures (representations) AAT
Keywords Iconclass 25F9 mis-shapen animals; monsters Iconclass
25FF fabulous animals (sometimes wrongly called 'grotesques'); 'Mostri' (Ripa) Iconclass
25FF232 chimera (lion/goat/snake); 'Chimera' (Ripa) Iconclass
48C24 piece of sculpture, reproduction of a piece of sculpture Iconclass
92I7 monsters of the sea Iconclass
92I74 Echidna Iconclass
92I7491 children of Echidna Iconclass
92I74912 Chimera Iconclass
School / Style phantasy
Symbolism (artistic concept) AAT
historicism (theory) AAT
James Ensor : Catalogue illustré de ses gravures ; Leur description critique et l'inventaire des plaques = Geïllustreerde catalogus van zijn gravures ; Hun kritische beschrijving en inventaris van de platen = Illustrated catalogue of his engravings ; Their critical description and inventary of the plates / Auguste Taevernier. - Ledeberg (Gent) : Erasmus Boekhandel bv Amsterdam, 1973 (nr. 25)
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