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Abstract only
Marika Takanishi Knowles

During the first two decades of the eighteenth century, Antoine Watteau gave Pierrot, a stock character from the Comédie Italienne, an iconic figure, the origins and the legacy which this book will trace. The book will argue that Pierrot, as visualised by Watteau, addresses the viewer in the manner of the marketplace, which is also the manner of theatricality. The introduction establishes the book’s understanding of the marketplace as a real and imagined forum for social life, in which the encounter between persons takes the form of a theatrical exchange of fronts. Visual art has a particular relationship to the expression of the social front, the superficial aspects of which are performed by media like painting, drawing, print, and photography. Pierrot is at the heart of this interrelationship, which he sets forth through his costume. Theatricality as a disposition of outwardness has been the object of study both by historians of theatre and art historians. The introduction explores these different approaches, noting that the anti-theatrical prejudice in French art criticism has an underlying relationship to a critique of the marketplace. The introduction also introduces the term ‘repertoire’ to describe the body of material upon which the book’s argument is based.

in Pierrot and his world
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Marika Takanishi Knowles

This chapter situates the discovery of Watteau’s large Pierrot within post-Revolutionary Paris. The first recorded owner of Pierrot was Dominique Vivant Denon, a connoisseur who was also Napoléon’s Director of the Arts. Denon’s career and practices as a collector exemplify post-Revolutionary attitudes towards artworks: often displaced and neglected, sometimes piled in heaps. Moving between Denon’s discovery and Édouard Manet’s breakthrough painting The Old Musician (1861–2), which cites Watteau’s Pierrot in the form of a gamin de Paris, this chapter argues that the painting depicts a range of types with meaningful relationships to the marketplace for old things. These types, drawn from the repertoire of the contemporary physiognomies, attest to a ‘panoramic’ mode of envisioning Paris as a marketplace. This chapter explores several iterations of the bric-à-brac aesthetic as a way of making sense of the post-Revolutionary art world. A related poetics was used by Jules Janin and Champfleury to promote a new, theatrical instantiation of Pierrot: Baptiste Deburau’s performances of the role at the Théâtre des Funambules. By including a ragpicker and an old-clothes seller in The Old Musician, Manet populates the painting with figures who both deal in the second-hand marketplace and clothe themselves from it.

in Pierrot and his world
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Marika Takanishi Knowles

This locates Pierrot at the Exposition Universelle (1855), where Nadar and his brother Adrien Tournachon exhibited photographs of Charles Deburau dressed as Pierrot. The photographic repertoire of this period was inhabited by actors and actresses, political celebrities, and the literati. The Exposition became the stage for this glittering performance of photography as a star-maker. Nadar, who had only recently begun to experiment with photography, was an experienced promoter of literary celebrity, to which he applied a distinctive, theatrical style. Intended as publicity for Adrien Tournachon’s studio, the photographs launched Pierrot as a distinctive silhouette, whose appearance shared features with magic lantern slides. Walter Benjamin’s comparison of the Universal Exhibitions to a phantasmagoria offers a key to understanding the figuration of Pierrot in the Tournachons’ photographs, and the significance of their display at the Exposition. During the fin-de-siècle, Pierrot becomes increasingly weightless and groundless, a condition that favours his role in optical technologies like animation, projection, and photography, the convergence of which would lead to the invention of cinema. Given the theatrical address of the Cinema of Attractions, Pierrot was suited to thrive in this medium, the fairground associations of which returned him to the fête marchande.

in Pierrot and his world
Marika Takanishi Knowles

In the backstage drama Children of Paradise (1945), written by Jacques Prévert and directed by Marcel Carné, Nadar’s Pierrot is re-embedded in a fantastically detailed historical environment, the nineteenth-century Boulevard du Temple and the Théâtre des Funambules. The chapter argues that the film registers elements of a conservative cultural backlash against the relationship between the marketplace and creative artistry. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Pierrot had become increasingly politicised, a mascot for conservative and reactionary figures like the artist Adolphe Willette and the mime Séverin. An aesthetic of whiteness, luminosity, and clarity was cast as distinctly ‘French’, as opposed to a piecemeal culture of the second-hand, which anti-Semitic critics cast as the fruits of ‘Jewishness’. In the film, the latter is represented by the old-clothes seller Jericho, Pierrot’s nemesis, while Baptiste Deburau, who plays Pierrot at the Funambules, imagines artistry through the figure of the Moon. Baptiste recasts his relationship to his role as a matter of essence rather than costume, thereby rejecting Pierrot’s mobile identity as a front. Nevertheless, the film proves to be a multi-vocal text, which registers its ambivalence to the politics of purity through its bric-à-brac décor and its densely and textured visual field.

in Pierrot and his world
Art, theatricality, and the marketplace in France, 1697–1945

Pierrot, a stock theatrical character in the repertoire of the Comédie Italienne, is an enduring figure in French visual art, from the early eighteenth century to the present day. This book traces Pierrot’s recurrence in French art and theatre, while locating the significance of this figural type in the social world of the marketplace. Since his representation by Antoine Watteau in the early eighteenth century, Pierrot has functioned as a front, a social identity vested in a visual appearance. As depicted by Watteau, Pierrot addresses the viewer frankly, frontally, in a theatrical mode. This book argues that theatricality was closely linked to the marketplace, both as an important historical venue for French theatre and as an architecture for social encounters. The intersection of theatricality and the marketplace continues to characterise Pierrot’s figure as he recurs in the rococo style, in Édouard Manet’s The Old Musician (1861–2), and in Nadar and Adrien Tournachon’s photographs of Charles Deburau in the costume of Pierrot. By situating Pierrot within a series of physical and virtual marketplaces, this book attends to the productive relationship between artistic and marketplace practices such as re-use, citation, and repetition. The positive valences attached to this kind of artistry would be challenged by a major work of French cinema, Children of Paradise (1945), a historical epic whose central character is Baptiste Deburau, who played Pierrot in the nineteenth-century pantomime. This book offers the first sustained account of this film’s relationship to anti-Semitic discourse.

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Marika Takanishi Knowles

The second chapter considers the repertoire of rococo ornament and decorative arts, in which Pierrot plays a starring role. Watteau’s Pierrot was liberally copied by rococo artists and designers, from sought-after decorative artists like Jacques Lajoue to lowly painters of inexpensive faience. Rococo artists relied upon printed repertoires in order to build decorative ensembles, in which motifs were borrowed and reassembled in a mode of découpage. The repertoire of objects and motifs would become a foundation of rococo retail strategies, from the merchant mercers to female fashion merchants to dealers in painting. A related kind of marketing was initiated by the amateur and collector Jean de Jullienne, who commissioned four volumes of etchings after Watteau’s oeuvre, including two volumes reproducing Watteau’s drawings. Pierrot appeared six times in these two volumes. As a collection that addresses both the marketplace and the ‘disinterested amateur’, The Figures of Different Characters can be understood as a tool both for remembrance and for marketing.

in Pierrot and his world
Laura L. Gathagan

The abbey of Holy Trinity, Caen, was founded by Mathilda of Flanders, Duchess of Normandy and Queen of England, in June 1066. The abbesses of Holy Trinity are the focus of this study, especially their judicial role and their power to imprison. These rarely discussed aspects of women’s authority are revealed in Manchester, John Rylands Library, GB 133 BMC/66. Produced in 1292 at the meeting of the Exchequer at Rouen, the modest parchment reveals the existence of a prison in Ouistreham, France, under the authority of the abbesses of Holy Trinity. This article engages heretofore unexamined elements of female abbatial authority, jurisdiction and the mechanisms of justice. The preservation of BMC/66 also reflects the documentary imperatives of the women who governed Holy Trinity and fits into a broader context of memory and documentary culture.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Kinga Lis
and
Jerzy Wójcik

The Laws of Oléron are a compilation of regulations concerning sea conduct drawn up in the thirteenth century in French. Copies of the text appeared in varieties of French in England and on the Continent, but it was only in the sixteenth century that the code was translated into English. Multiple issues concerning this English text are still vague. An attempt at settling some of them, such as the relationship between different exemplars and determining their French source text, has been undertaken in two recent studies. This article tries to verify whether the conclusions reached there can be corroborated with the use of mathematical methods of analysis, and to measure the correlations between the extant copies of the English translation and a group of French texts named by different researchers as the source texts for the rendition. The analysis is conducted by means of text similarity measurements using cosine similarity.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Chris Schabel

This is part II of a two-part article on the questions on the Sentences of the Servite Lorenzo Opimo of Bologna. This part focuses on the doctrine and sources of the work, which would become the theological guide for the Order by the end of the Middle Ages. An appendix offers a catalogue of the theses Lorenzo defended: conservative but also up to date at a time when radical ideas were spreading. His explicit citations suggest that he was well versed in fourteenth-century theology, citing ten theologians of the era by name as opposed to just five for the more famous thirteenth century. He also favoured Austin Friars over Franciscans and he completely ignored Dominicans, except for Thomas Aquinas. Upon closer inspection, however, and in common with some of his contemporaries, Lorenzo’s knowledge of some of these fifteen theologians was indirect via passages borrowed from the Augustinians Gregory of Rimini and Hugolino of Orvieto from the 1340s and the Franciscan Francis of Perugia, the Minorite regent master during the year in which Lorenzo lectured.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Alexander Lee

In March 1506, Machiavelli was in the Casentino when he received a letter from Agostino Vespucci in Florence. A few weeks earlier, Machiavelli had arranged for his Decennale primo – a verse history of Florence between 1494 and 1504 – to be printed by Bartolomeo de’ Libri, with Vespucci bearing the costs. It was the first of his works in print and had already met with some success. Much to Vespucci’s alarm, however, a rival printer, Andrea Ghirlandi da Pistoia, was now selling a pirated version, festooned with mistakes. This article explores how Vespucci tried to protect Machiavelli’s interests and his own investment. It shows how Vespucci successfully circumvented the lack of copyright protection by casting the pirated version as a form of defamation and exploiting both secular and ecclesiastical authorities. In doing so, it casts fresh light on the legal and commercial challenges of printing in sixteenth-century Florence.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library