Halloween is just around the corner. These works of art capture the theme of costume and disguise. Ghosts and gobblins may abound this holiday, but these creative characters—Ichikawa Danjuro VI as Arakawa Taro and the ghoulish mask design by Edward Jennings—should inspire you to think (or dress) outside the box. Give us some candy—Caption This!
Thanks to all who have participated in our contest! Week Eight will be your last opportunity to win free admission to the Gibbes and a chance at a facial from The Spa at Charleston Place.
Performance and role-playing has been explored through portraiture since the fifteenth century. Here, Toshusai Sharaku captures Japanese kabuki theater actor, Ichikawa Danjuro VI, playing the dramatic role of Arakawa Taro. Danjuro was one of the chief actors among the most famous kabuki acting clans. He was seventeen at the time of this portrait. Much like Hollywood actors in America today, famous theater actors in Japan were idolized by the people, and portraits of the actors in character sold by the thousands.
Centuries later, artist and stage designer, Edward Jennings, used his theatrical portrait designs for a more personal purpose. From his paintings he created wire and papier-mâché masks to portray dramatic characters. His designs exemplify the intense subjects he produced. Jennings was born with a severe speech impediment and it was from behind these masks that he was able to reveal his dramatic personality. He is known to have performed interpretive dances for groups of friends crowned with his creations.