Die Familie des Harlekin

Accession Number

Die Familie des Harlekin

Gino Severini

Artist Nationality
Italian (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
lithograph on paper

12 in x 8 1/16 in (30.5 cm x 20.5 cm);22 in x 18 in (55.88 cm x 45.72 cm);18 1/4 in x 11 3/4 in (46.3 cm x 29.8 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Subject matter
Characters from commedia dell'arte such as these harlequins are often featured in Severini's work from the early 1920s. This scene can also be found as an oil painting which was a more familiar medium for Severini. The painting appears to be titled, The Family of Poor Pulcinella. Pulchinella was a stock character that orginiated from commedia dell'arte. He is usually depicted with a beak-like nose and in theater he has a nasally voice. Pulcinella is sometimes considered to be a trickster. Although portraying harlequins, it has features of the Christian Holy Family with the breastfeeding mother and the young man at her side gesturing towards the baby as St. John the Baptist is often seen gesturing to his cousin. 
This print, Family of Harlequins was released in a portfolio titled New European Graphics, Portfolio IV: Italian and Russian Artists. It was the final portfolio of its series and was published by the Bauhaus School with the intention of raising money for the program. There was supposed to be a fifth edition as well but it was cancelled.

Physical Description
In this vertical print we see what is presumably a family group of harlequins. At the back is a tall man in a pointed hat, wearing a mask with an elongated nose, playing a guitar. In front of him is a seated woman breastfeeding a baby. Next to her is a young adult or a child standing and gesturing to her with his right hand. He is holding an instrument and wearing a diamond checkered costume. 

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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Italian (culture or style)
Musical instruments
children (people by age group)
commedia dell'arte
families (kinship groups)
modern and contemporary art
nursing (mammal feeding)
stringed instruments (musical instruments)

6 Related Resources

(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
PAST - Guitars
(Part of: FFW Lower Level Study Cases     )
Childbearing, birth, midwifery, maternity
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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