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 http://www.allinsongallery.com/rouault/qui.html.  You can find more of the Miserere series there.

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