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
This painting depicts the Spanish Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia (1566-1633), Archduchess of Austria, in an...
The female dwarf Madalena Ruiz served at the Spanish court from 1565 for some forty years. See also the portrait of...
Till Eulenspiegel was a medieval European hit as far as folk fools go. Stories about this fictitious impish character...
This enigmatic painting by Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem (1562-1638) features a fool with the cap so often attributed...
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