The Circus Parade is an 1888 painting by French Post-Impressionist artist Georges Seurat This work is located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York.
Analysis of The Circus Parade
Also known as Parade de cirque or Circus Sideshow in English, this painting debuted at the Salon de la Société des Artistes Indépendants of 1888 where it did not succeed. The picture has since become one of Suerat’s most famous works, inspiring future generations and art movements including fauvism and cubism. It is one of a number of circus-themed paintings by the artist, including the famed Le Cirque, or The Circus in English from 1891 which is one of George Seurat’s famous paintings.
The Circus in late 20th Century France
In the late 1800s, circuses in France experienced a period of significant development and popularity. The circus, as an entertainment form, evolved during this time, combining elements of equestrian performances, acrobatics, clown acts, and other dazzling spectacles. Several circuses gained fame, and the late 19th century saw the rise of prominent circus families and companies.
One notable example is the Medrano Circus, which was established in Paris in 1873 by the Medrano family, originally from Spain. The circus gained acclaim for its diverse performances, including equestrian acts, trapeze artists, and animal shows. Medrano became a well-known and respected name in the French circus scene, contributing to the cultural vibrancy of Paris during this era.
Another significant figure in the late 19th-century French circus scene was the entertainer and equestrian performer known as Buffalo Bill. While Buffalo Bill was American, his Wild West shows became immensely popular in Europe, including France, during this period. These shows combined elements of the American frontier, featuring cowboys, Native American performers, and reenactments of Wild West scenes. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows toured France, captivating audiences with their spectacle and contributing to the fascination with exotic and adventurous performances.
The late 1800s also witnessed innovations in circus technology and production. The use of electric lighting allowed for more elaborate and dazzling performances during evening shows. This technological advancement enhanced the visual appeal of circus acts and contributed to the overall theatrical experience.
Circus buildings, known as “circus buildings” or “circus arenas,” were constructed to accommodate the growing popularity of circus performances. These structures were designed to house both traditional circus acts and theatrical performances. The Circus Fernando, later known as the Nouveau Cirque, was one such venue in Paris that became famous during this era.