The Masks We Wear | Lenten Art | Lent 19

Qui ne se Grime Pas? Who Does Not Wear a Mask? 1923

Qui ne se Grime Pas is the key work in Rouault’s most important series of prints, the ‘Miserere’. Here the artist depicts himself as a clown. It is a ‘spiritual’ self-portrait expressing his moral and philosophical ideas in terms of a visual symbol.

Rouault wrote of a chance encounter in 1903, when he was 32: “One day I noticed how, when a beautiful day turns to evening, the first star shines out in the the sky. It moved me deeply — I don’t know why — and it marked the beginnings of poetry in my life. A gypsy caravan halted at the side of the road, a weary old horse nibbling stunted grasses, an old clown patching his costume — that was how it began. We all wear a spangled dress of some sort, but if someone catches us with the spangles off, as I caught that old clown, oh! the infinite pity of it! . . I have made the mistake . . . of never allowing people to keep their spangles on . . .” Quoted by Frank and Dorothy Getlein, George Rouault’s Miserere (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1964), p. 43.

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I include this image on my blog because of Roualt’s profound psychological insight into our unique participation in Christ’s passion.  The excerpt above was taken from  You can find more of the Miserere series there.

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