The Flexible Clown

Illustration 084

This clown was originally drawn as a movie poster to promote the Danish premiere of Fellini’s film “The Clowns” from 1970, that was shown in the Dagmar Cinema in Copenhagen. Federico Fellini (1920-1993) was a director and screenwriter and is considered one of the world’s greatest and most influential filmmakers. Fellini used the circus as a metaphor for life and it is said that he saw himself as a sprechstallmeister and a clown at the same time. Since childhood, he had been very fascinated by clowns and in his adult life he used them in several films, such as The Clowns, a commissioned work from Italian television. The genre was a whimsical mix of fiction and documentary. Fellini visited the homes of famous clowns, for example the Danish Charlie Rivel, but at the same time mixed fictional elements into the film. He stated: “Who can still laugh at clowns?… All the world plays a clown now”. Antoni’s Clown manages to tie a knot on himself, all while smiling and lifting his hat in front of the audience. That Antoni should be commissioned to make the film poster for The Clowns can most likely be related to the iconic poster he made in 1967 for Circus Schumann, namely “Charlie Rivel”, which probably also paved the way to the works Antoni made for Circus Benneweis in 1971. This illustration was made in 1964 for Dagmar Udlejning (translated: Dagmar Rentals). If you are interested in this illustration, you might also like this Antoni category: Circus.

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