Creating the world's greatest visual gallery of fools and jesters
Jesters were often highly visible whether through a distinctive physique, comportment, costume, or some combination of these. This has perhaps contributed to a wealth of visual representations of them and the pool from which they often emerged, including dwarfs, musicians, entertainers and actors.
The Gallery will share images from our fooleum, with a view to exploring – and celebrating – the ways in which fools were captured in paintings, etchings, wood-cuts, carvings and figurines.
Aims and approaches
We aim to feature as global and engaging a range of images as possible, together with references to related literature, in order to enrich our understanding of how jesters were perceived and portrayed. Once we have some critical mass, we will make this a searchable resource, as well as a feast for the eyes and mind.
As we adore alliteration (and top marks), we are following a triple-A formula:
Ambitious – does it contribute to making this the world’s most comprehensive and dazzling visual array of fools and their ilk? We actively seek diversity across time, space and medium.
Available – does it exist? For example, a European fool-fad lasting centuries led to miles of materials, whereas in China visual depictions are thinner on the ground. This means the Gallery will likely have a stronger European flavour and fewer Chinese examples than we’d like.
Accessible – is it digitally and otherwise accessible? We begin with images in the public domain, or generously released for studious purposes. Luckily, many great museums are in full-throttle digitisation mode (thank you, thank you).
In sum, there is no better time to be alive if you are developing a world-spanning repository of fooldom on a shoestring. And by the time we’ve featured the affordable images, sponsors will be queueing up to lavish their largesse on other acquisitions.
Latest additions … served up as they emerge
The skomorokh is a Russian term which spans entertainers, musicians, buffoons, jesters, harlequins, minstrels or...
A curious drawing, from the late 18th century, of a named dwarf dancing in the presence of a pair of Indian soldiers...
This sketch of an individual, done by an Anglo-Indian artist around 1790, has the intriguing title of 'A fool named...
There were many dwarfs and mutes at the Ottoman court, and so I was intrigued to find this painting of a dwarf from...
Design & content copyright: Beatrice Otto 2020 all rights reserved I header & related jester illustrations by joaomontenegro.com
Colours and fonts were chosen for aesthetic strength and because their names reflect the mission of foolsareeverywhere.com. Fonts: Quipley I Lustria I Wild Pen. Colours include: Jester Yellow by Faeriepuffs I New Laughter by Ilara ... you get the picture