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Commedia dell'arte
Bickham, George, 1706?-1771 (Artist)
Callot, Jacques, 1592-1635 (Artist)
Carrier-Belleuse, Pierre, 1851-1932 (Artist)
Lacauchie, Alexandre (Artist)
Lechard (Engraver)
Marks, John Lewis (Artist)
Rouargue, Emile, 1795-1865 (Engraver)
Schule, C. (Christian), 1764-1816 (Artist)
Solar, M. de (Artist)
Redington, James, 1810-1891 (Publisher)
Wageman, Thomas Charles, ca. 1787-1863 (Artist)
Holl, William, 1807-1871 (Engraver)
Robert Laurie and James Whittle (Publisher)
Castelli, Horace (Artist)

Prints depicting dance

Theatrical dancers in groups or more than two but not in a ballet or theatrical dance scene

Dates / Origin
Date Issued: 1600 - 1904 (Approximate)
Table of Contents
Single figures, Harlequin (5 images on 4 sheets): [Robert Honner as Harlequin] -- [Robert Honner as Harlequin, same image but different coloration. On the verso is a female figure, possibly Columbine] -- Mr. G. French as Harlequin, London, pub[lished] by J. Redington -- Mr. Ellar as Harlequin, London, published by J.L. Marks / Marks fe. Single figures, others (6 sheets): Gandolin -- Pulcinella -- Mademoiselle Rosier as Columbine; No. 44; London, pub. by A. Park -- Debureau [i.e., Jean Gaspard Deburau as Pierrot]; Paris, Maicham / Alexandre Lacauchie; Litho de Rigo Frères -- Miss Romer as Columbine, Theatre Royal Covent Garden / Wageman del.; Holl sculpt. -- Le miroir de Pierrot / [Pierre] Carrier-Belleuse. Pairs (4 sheets): Polichinelle [et] Pantalon [includes verses in French] -- Scapino, Cap[tain] Zerbino [from the series The asinine dances; in the foreground the two characters greet each other; in the background they fight a duel] / [Jacques Callot] -- The taste: a dialogue [illustrated sheet music for accompanied voice, possibly from The musical entertainer; depicts Punchinello and Colombina?] / music, Handel; G. Bickham junr. sculp. -- Arlequin et Arlequine / M. de Solar. Theatrical performances (8 sheets): [Two images on one sheet; at left, actresses and their admirers in a dressing room, signed C. Schule, 1802; at right, Harlequin on stage, blowing bubbles from a pipe, with a playbill? in his right hand reading "Das Dona Weibche"] -- Harlequin and Mother Goose: or The golden egg, publish'd March 25, 1807, by Laurie & Whittle, 53, Fleet Street, London [ten images on one sheet, depicting scenes from the pantomime; possibly a writing sheet] -- Arlequin als Skelett [Harlequin in a skeleton costume] und Pierrot in der Pantomime, Arlequin um Schutz der Zauberei, zu finden bei dem Maler Weise -- Green's characters in Uncle Tom's cabin, plate 5 [toy theatre figures and scenes, including Harlequin and Columbine] -- Le théâtre des Funambules [two women onstage, one with dark-colored wings and a crescent moon on her headdress, with a masked Harlequin lying between them] / [Horace?] Castelli del., Lechard sculp. -- Harlequinade [25 images on one sheet, including a large figure of Harlequin dancing with a woman at center, dancers, musicians, clowns, acrobats, Punch and Judy with their baby, from one or more pantomimes, ca. 1860] -- Ballets de L'oncle d'Amerique, L'art du théâtre, March 1904 [six photomechanical images within one plate mark; depicts Harlequin, played by a woman en travesti, and others] / Cl. Manuel -- [Outdoor performance by actors in costumes suggesting the commedia dell'arte, watched by adults, children, and dogs]. Carnival and other festivals (3 sheets): Das Carneval in Rom -- Venezia. Carnevale. Venise. Carnaval / Loder del.; E. Rouargue sc. -- La fête des [illegible] de Munich [title penciled on the verso]. Others (1 sheet): [Interior with vaulted ceiling; in the foreground, a line of actors? including Harlequin].
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZFY Com 1-26
Honner, Robert William, 1809-1852
Deburau, Jean Gaspard, 1796-1846
Harlequin (Fictitious character)
Columbine (Fictitious character)
Pierrot (Fictitious character)
Punchinello (Fictitious character)
Pantaloon (Fictitious character)
Commedia dell'arte
Content: Title devised by cataloger.
Funding: Gandolin, Polichinelle [et] Pantalon, Scapino, Cap[tain] Zerbino, and Harlequinade purchased with funds from the Committee for the Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
Acquisition: [Two prints of Robert Honner as Harlequin], Miss Romer as Columbine, [Actresses in dressing room; Harlequin], Venezia, Carnevale Gift; Lillian Moore.
Acquisition: Mr. Ellar as Harlequin, Debureau, Pulcinella, Mademoiselle Rosier as Columbine, The taste, [Outdoor performance] Gift; Lincoln Kirstein, 1968.
Acquisition: Mr. G. French as Harlequin Purchase; Gregory, 1966.
Acquisition: Gandolin, Polichinelle [et] Pantalon Purchase; Paul Prouté, 1989.
Acquisition: Scapino, Cap[tain] Zerbino; Harlequinade Purchase; Dramatis Personae, 2011.
Biographical/historical: The theatrical performances depicted in this collection may include: Harlequin and Mother goose, or the golden egg, a comic pantomime by Thomas Dibdin, first performed at the Covent Garden theatre, London, 1806; Arlequin im Schutz der Zauberei, an Italian pantomime in three acts, 181-?; L'oncle d'Amerique, a play by Eugène Scribe, first performed in 1826, probably seen here in a 1903 production at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris. The production of Uncle Tom's cabin illustrated by Green's characters may be Uncle Tom and Lucy Neal, or Harlequin, Liberty and Slavery, performed at the Whitechapel Theatre, London, in 1852.
Biographical/historical: Commedia dell'arte was a form of popular theatre that originated in Italy in the 16th century. Performed by professional players, often in outdoor settings, it was largely improvised, and centered around stock characters such as the servant Arlecchino, later called Harlequin. Other favorite characters included Colombina (Columbine), Pantalone, and Pulcinella (Punchinello). Some characters wore closely-fitting masks that covered the upper half of the face; others were not masked. Physical action, music, and dance were important components of the performance. Traveling troupes carried the commedia dell'arte throughout Europe, particularly to France and England, where further developments and refinements were introduced. In England, for example, the commedia dell'arte gave rise to the harlequinade, which depicted the antics of the lovers Harlequin and Columbine in mime, music, and dance. In France, the character called Pierrot evolved from a comic servant into a symbol of the alienated artist. Characters from the commedia dell'arte were also incorporated into other theatre, dance, and music forms, and became favorite subjects of the visual arts.
Physical Description
Extent: 9 prints (8 sheets) : engraving, etching, aquatint, hand-colored ;46 x 37 cm. or smaller.
Extent: 8 prints : engraving, etching, b&w ;40 x 26 cm. or smaller.
Extent: 2 prints : etching, hand-colored ;32 x 47 cm., visible image 29 x 38 cm.
Extent: 1 print : aquatint, b&w ;37 x 28 cm., plate mark 31 x 21 cm.
Extent: 3 prints : lithograph, hand-colored ;36 x 27 cm. or smaller.
Extent: 1 print : lithograph, b&w ;27 x 17 cm.
Extent: 1 print :lithograph, one color ;18 x 27 cm.
Extent: 2 photomechanical prints : black and white or one color ; 36 x 27 cm. or smaller.
Representations of Harlequin and other stock characters of the commedia dell'arte. They are sometimes depicted in the context of theatrical performances or Carnival or other festive occasions. This collection has been culled from a variety of sources and includes theatrical prints of the type called "penny plain, tuppence colored"; toy theatre figures; illustrations from books and periodicals; and illustrated music sheets. The collection has been arranged in six groups: Single figures, Harlequin; Single figures, others; Pairs; Theatrical performances; Carnival and other festivals; Others.
Type of Resource
Still image
RLIN/OCLC: 825771158
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19760328
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): e06caff0-0107-0135-cd8e-03af23465b1f
Rights Statement
The New York Public Library believes that this item is in the public domain under the laws of the United States, but did not make a determination as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. This item may not be in the public domain under the laws of other countries. Though not required, if you want to credit us as the source, please use the following statement, "From The New York Public Library," and provide a link back to the item on our Digital Collections site. Doing so helps us track how our collection is used and helps justify freely releasing even more content in the future.

Item timeline of events

  • 1600: Issued (Approximate)
  • 2020: Digitized
  • 2023: Found by you!
  • 2024

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Commedia dell'arte" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1600 - 1904.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Commedia dell'arte" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 7, 2023.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (1600 - 1904). Commedia dell'arte Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (still image) Commedia dell'arte, (1600 - 1904) |author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=February 7, 2023 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Commedia dell'arte