Arlekin: what disappeared behind a mask of? We met
of the Boy Arlekin in the childhood in the fairy tale “ Buratino`s Adventures “ A. Tolstoy. It belabored the friend Piero`s stick.
Arlekin, however, long ago not the boy. It was born in Venice 500 years ago. In the beginning it was called by Cola, Flauttino and even Buratino. And the name Harlequin, perhaps, received from a name of a demon of Ellekin from Etruscan legends. On the first images at Arlekin in the middle of a forehead the cone - the horn rest flaunts. In the southern Italy then his brother - Pulcinella was born. Both are characters of the comedy of masks which was called the commedia dell`arte subsequently (arts, crafts). It was the first professional theater of Europe.
The theater and its masks expressed at the same time both a sunshiny disposition of Italians, and their discontent with life. Italy in the 16th century was under the rule of Spain, is shattered and ruined. Before the proud and independent merchants degraded, having turned into the investor. The cities - are overflowed by refugees from villages. The high Renaissance consigned to the past, but changed representation of people about to itself. They realized themselves persons. But also the archaic understanding of unity of the world and the person was still live. It was shown in elements of carnivals, heritage of antique bacchanalias.
As on a carnival, characters were masked and had at themselves the attributes explaining their character or a profession. As on a carnival, they improvised, without having the text of the play. Action alternated dances, songs and buffoon numbers with acrobatics elements. The plot was simple and naive: two couples of lovers wanted to get married, old men were against, and servants helped lovers to outwit old men.
However, masks were not simply ridiculous: they derided types from real life. Satirical masks of vile old men - Pantalone (the merchant - the cheapskate), Doctors (the scientist - the charlatan), the Captain were most known (the Spaniard - the invader). And - masks of servants, hungry and not knowing what is morals. Old men stammered and driveled. Servants fought, stole, whored, made jokes and swore on all Italian adverbs that especially amused the audience.
And the audience was delighted. And not only Italian: the comedy quickly subdued all Europe, and in France became national theater over time. Pulcinella in France turned into the Punchinello, in England - into Pancha, in Russia - into Parsley. Lope de Vega, Shakespeare, Moliere - all appeared under the influence of the comedy of masks.
Arlekin was one of many servants, the rural gawk speaking on a bergamsky adverb. He was thrashed, deceived, but he was canny and very angry. It carried a black half mask with a long nose, a wide-brimmed hat, a wide linen shirt and trousers which by avarice patched what got. Behind a belt it had a wooden sword which was not rescuing it from punches. By the end of the 16th century Arlekin changed and became similar to the clown. It had a hat decorated with a hare tail or a pad (a cowardice symbol), and sometimes to it sewed jingles.
In the 17th century Arlekin continued to change. His suit was gradually narrowed, did not become fitting yet that spoke about evasiveness of the character. The clothes to it entirely began to be sewed from triangles of red, green and yellow flowers. And on the head the dandyish cocked hat appeared. Its popularity so grew that it “ absorbed “ the brother Pulcinella. It affected character: Arlekin became the dexterous intriguer. From rural tongue-tie there is no trace left also, and satirical jokes became even more evil and are more poisonous.
When in the 18th century the Italian commedia dell`arte stopped existence, and masks moved to puppet theater, Arlekin began to live independent life in other theaters. His talk became emotional, and intrigues came to an end with a clear victory. He became the graceful and happy lover, always fighting his wife Kolombina off the owner Piero. Piero appeared already in the French theater of masks and was first a miller in white clothes and with the person sprinkled with flour. Since then Arlekin and Piero became eternal satellites and antagonists.
After Great French revolution Arlekin had the genre in the European exhibition theater - Harlequinade. Representation with a simple plot where Arlekin was the main character and the winner, consisted of songs, dances, buffooneries, pantomimes and comic fights.
In the middle of the 19th century in Arlekin`s destiny there was a new turn. The circus was allocated in an independent type of shows, and on an arena there were clowns - White (the owner who turned out from white Piero) and Red or Augustus (the servant whose prototype was Arlekin).
But destiny it was necessary to uplift Arlekin even above. During a modernist style era they with Piero became iconic figures of art of a decadence. Attached to their images mystical significance: attributed one universal grief, to another - flirtations with death. Their appearance became elegantly - elegant and perfectly illustrated the motto “ Art - for the sake of art “. Venomous Arlekin and the suffering Piero inspired many great masters of Russia, including M. Petipa, M. Fokin, I. Stravinsky, S. Prokofiev, V. Meyerhold, E. Vakhtangov, A. Tairov.
Presently on the well-known Carnival of Venice sketches in style of the commedia dell`arte are played, and in procession of masked the bright body stockings of ubiquitous Arlekin flash. But his face is covered by a white, impenetrable mask. He had time in which he was born, times when he changed and grew, endured mission of the mask and became the cosmopolitan. It served people, exposing angrily and struggling with the evil by its methods. Long Arlekin remained ridiculous for all , but political correctness times came, and the satire appeared not in honor. Arlekin turned into a beautiful symbol of theater, a carnival and Venice.
But how the nobility, suddenly it still will return? There will always be those who deserve a sneer...