Patricia G. Berman
The brash young artist James Ensor painted Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889 during a period of extraordinary artistic and political foment in his native Belgium. It is one of the most dazzling, innovative, and perplexing paintings created in Europe in the late nineteenth century, rivaling any work of its period in audacity and ambition. Huge in scale, complex in design and execution, and brimming with social commentary, the startling canvas presents a scene filled with clowns, masked figures, and—barely visible amid the swirling crowds—the tiny figure of Christ on a donkey entering the city of Brussels.
This insightful volume examines the painting in light of Belgium's rich artistic, social, political, and theological debates in the late nineteenth century, and in the context of James Ensor's exceptional career, in order to decipher some of the painting's messages and meanings.
Patricia G. Berman is the Barbara Morris Caspersen Associate Professor of Art and chair of the Art Department at the Jewett Arts Center at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She is the author of Edvard Munch: Mirror Reflections, Modern Hieroglyphs: Gestural Drawing and the European Vanguard, 1900–1918 and, most recently, coauthor of Munch and Women: Image and Myth.