Old Lady with Masks

James Ensor  Old Lady with Masks

This masterpiece from 1889 was painted at the height of what is termed Ensor's 'fantastic' or 'mask period', which is also the high point of his oeuvre. Typical features are the grinning or sneering masks surrounding the main female figure and the skull in the top right. They represent two foundations of Ensor's inspiration: the hypocrisy of the human behaviour he perceived around him, and the theme of death. The actual 'portrait' of the figure in the middle has all the characteristics of a caricature.

Size

H: 55 cm
W: 46,5 cm

Medium

Oil on canvas

Year

1889