Alexis Bafcop (Cassel, 1804 – 1895)
The Cassel Carnival

Oil on canvas
72,5 x 91,5 cm

Inv. 992.46.1

Major works | Parody on Parade

A gigantic carnival

In 1876, Alexis Bafcop produced the Carnival of Cassel by compiling real elements but which occurred at different dates, as well as elements probably from his imagination. The painter sought above all to retranscribe an atmosphere – that of the festival.

The onlooker’s eyes are drawn by the diagonal leading to Reuze-Papa, the tutelary giant of the town whose procession is made up of what we could assume are musicians from their different shaped hats and instruments. A hobby horse, an Alexis Bafcop creation, can be seen strolling in the middle ground. All around, the people – mainly men – wear costumes of varying sophistication, and some wear masks. Only one person on the right, looking up at the giant with his back to us, is wearing town clothes. Might this be the artist who has drawn himself ?

The original attire and clear tonalities of the Commedia dell’arte figures are easy to spot. In the foreground, H arlequin and Domino in perfect sync are presenting the waffle and crêpe, symbolising Carnival and Lent; while Pierrot dances in the middle, bathed in light.