Support: Wove paper
Sheet: 31 x 22.4 cm (12 3/16 x 8 13/16 in.); Platemark: 24.2 x 18.8 cm (9 1/2 x 7 3/8 in.)
Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 2003.46
Catalogue raisonné: Taevernier 7
State: I/III (first state of the first version)
This etching was Ensor’s most popular, and he eventually issued it in two versions; the Cleveland Museum of Art's rare impression is among the first that he printed.
James Ensor used tiny, repetitive marks possible with etching to develop a new, expressive style that contrasted with that of most of his contemporaries. The Gothic architecture, worn facade, and overwhelming scale of the cathedral seen here in exacting detail show that it has withstood the test of time. Ensor juxtaposed the building with a dense crowd of grotesque figures that push forward seemingly irrationally, presenting a symbolic contrast between their whims and the permanence of both the church and the past.
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