Mean, Vicious and Crafty
[BARIC, Jules Jean Antoine, illustrator]. Polichinelle et son ami Pierrot. Par Baric. Paris: Arnauld de Vresse Edit[eu]r, [n.d., ca. 1860].
Oblong octavo (6 1/2 x 10 3/16 inches; 165 x 259 mm.). 16 pp. of text. Sixteen numbered hand-colored lithographed plates (including hand-colored lithographed title). The plates are captioned below. Plates lithographed by Roche. All plates mounted on guards.
Contemporary quarter dark green hard-grain morocco over dark blue green pebble-grain cloth boards. Covers ruled in blind, front cover decoratively stamped and lettered in gilt, smooth spine ruled in blind and lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers. Some light foxing and soiling. Faint dampstain to lower blank corner of plate 16 (not affecting image). An excellent copy.
Jules Jean Antoine Baric (ca. 1825 or 1830-1905) illustrated several books of caricatures or cartoons for Arnauld de Vresse between 1857 and 1863.
Pulcinella, often called Punch or Punchinello in English, Polichinelle in French, is a classical character that originated in the Commedia dell'arte of the 17th century and became a stock character in Neapolitan puppetry. His main characteristic, from which he acquired his name, is his extremely long nose, which resembles a beak. In Latin, this was a pullus gallinaceus, which led to the word "Pulliciniello" and "Pulcinella", related to the Italian pulcino or chick.
According to another version, "Pulcinella" derived from the name of Puccio d'Aniello, a peasant of Acerra, who was portrayed in a famous picture attributed to Annibale Carracci, and indeed characterized by a long nose. It has also been suggested that the figure is a caricature of a sufferer of acromegaly (enlargement of the extremities). He usually wears a black mask and long white coat, and has loose and straggly hair. According to Pierre Louis Duchartre, his traditional temperament is to be mean, vicious, and crafty: his main mode of defense is to pretend to be too stupid to know what's going on, and his secondary mode is to physically beat people.
Many regional variants of Pulcinella were developed as the character spread across Europe. In Germany, Pulcinella came to be known as Kasper. In the Netherlands he is known as Jan Klaassen. In Denmark he is Mester Jackel. in Russia he is known as Petrushka (however, Igor Stravinsky composed two different ballets Pulcinella and Petrushka); in Romania, he is Vasilache; and in France Polichinelle, while in England, he inspired the character of Mister Punch of Punch and Judy.
Pulcinella is also the mascot of the Pulcinella Awards, annual awards for excellence in animation, presented at the Cartoons on the Bay Festival in Positano, Italy. Several classical composers, including Sergei Rachmaninoff and Heitor Villa-Lobos, wrote songs entitled Polichinelle or a similar variant, based on the theme of the mischievous puppet. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulcinella). Item #00316
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