The Entry

Christ Entry into Brussels in 1889-James Ensor 1888
The Belgian Symbolist James Ensor macabre vision of the Second Coming, 1888’s Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889 is generally considered his masterpiece and with its densely crowded canvas, vivid use of colour and grotesque caricatures clearly pointed the way towards a new art: Expressionism.

With all the distorted clarity of a nightmare Ensor portrays a  heaving mob that includes skeletons, clowns and masked figures drunkenly await the entrance of the Messiah. Several banners line the processional route, however the leering faces in the foreground suggest that Christ’s entry will not be a triumphant one but will turn into a second Calvary.





19 thoughts on “The Entry

    1. Very true. Part of the appeal for me is the Day of the Dead look to the scene which fascinates me as does the whole very Mexican cult of death. I am not sure that Ensor was aware of it, his family owned a store that sold masks so masks are everywhere.

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  1. Excellent artwork. Sort of like 3D. Personally, I agree that Jesus’s return will be chaotic; after He brings His people home, the world below will launch into war. People think it’s scary now? Wait till then. :0

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  2. Symbolist, yes! I find it quite brilliant that Ensor depicted the crowd as they would be seen if they showed their true faces, not the false faces that they normally would put forward. This again is a striking composition, full and colorful, suggestive of festivities, yet not really. Much more like a lynch mob. As always informative and interesting Mr. Cake. ~ Miss Cranes

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      1. Oh, definitely. I personally think, and many will argue the point, that the best art is not the “pretty” art no matter the medium. The best art is the art that makes a statement, gets under your skin, and you think about long after the experience. (Even if you consciously hate it.) Although “pretty” can do this too, though not all artists are able to accomplish this.

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