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Demons who torment me (Démons me turlupinant)

James Ensor1895

Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

During his main creative period, Ensor was subjected to particularly harsh treatment from art critics. The universal incomprehension and derision that greeted his work in this period clearly wounded Ensor to such an extent that he was never able to forget these traumatic affronts. Some of the etchings he created in the 1890s seek, in more or less coded form, to settle scores with these self-proclaimed arbiters of artistic taste. The self-portrait, Demons Who Torment Me is one such work. It shows an artist being tormented by his foes. They have taken the form of demonic chimeras, drooling as they encircle the artist. The ranks of diabolical tormenters are not only made up of art critics, but also include a number of women – who appear as dolled up, grotesquely disfigured skeletons. The foolish-looking animal head, comprising a proboscis and horse’s mane, possibly represents another of the artist’s female ‘tormentors’.

Details

  • Title: Demons who torment me (Démons me turlupinant)
  • Creator: James Ensor
  • Date: 1895
  • Physical Dimensions: w15.6 x h11.8 cm
  • Type: Print
  • Medium: Etching, hand coloured on paper
  • Signature / Inscription: bottom right monogrammed: "James Ensor 1895"
  • Inv.-No.: 7-1976
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-018511
  • External Link: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyright: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz │ Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Sigrid Achenbach
  • Collection: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Artist Place of Death: Oostende, Belgium
  • Artist Gender: Male
  • Artist Dates: 13.04.1860 - 19.11.1949

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