Vile Vivisectors — James Ensor

Vile Vivisectors, 1925 by James Ensor (1860-1949)

Gluttony — James Ensor


Gluttony, 1904 — James Ensor (1860-1949)

Hop-Frog’s Revenge — James Ensor


Hop-Frog’s Revenge, 1898 by James Ensor (1860-1949)

Ensor’s illustration was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s 1849 tale “Hop-Frog.”



Edgar Allan Poe

I NEVER knew anyone so keenly alive to a joke as the king was. He seemed to live only for joking. To tell a good story of the joke kind, and to tell it well, was the surest road to his favor. Thus it happened that his seven ministers were all noted for their accomplishments as jokers. They all took after the king, too, in being large, corpulent, oily men, as well as inimitable jokers. Whether people grow fat by joking, or whether there is something in fat itself which predisposes to a joke, I have never been quite able to determine; but certain it is that a lean joker is a rara avis in terris.

About the refinements, or, as he called them, the ‘ghost’ of wit, the king troubled himself very little. He had an especial admiration for breadth in a jest, and would often put up with length, for the sake of it. Over-niceties wearied him. He would have preferred Rabelais’ ‘Gargantua’ to the ‘Zadig’ of Voltaire: and, upon the whole, practical jokes suited his taste far better than verbal ones.

At the date of my narrative, professing jesters had not altogether gone out of fashion at court. Several of the great continental ‘powers’ still retain their ‘fools,’ who wore motley, with caps and bells, and who were expected to be always ready with sharp witticisms, at a moment’s notice, in consideration of the crumbs that fell from the royal table.

Our king, as a matter of course, retained his ‘fool.’ The fact is, he required something in the way of folly–if only to counterbalance the heavy wisdom of the seven wise men who were his ministers–not to mention himself. Continue reading “Hop-Frog’s Revenge — James Ensor”

Silhouettes — James Ensor


Silhouettes, 1880 by James Ensor (1860-1949)

Envy — James Ensor

Envy 1904 James Ensor

Envy, 1904 by James Ensor (1860-1949)

Sloth — James Ensor

The Dejected Lady — James Ensor


The Astonishment of the Mask Wouse — James Ensor


Adam and Eve Expelled from Paradise — James Ensor


Strange Insects — James Ensor


The Skeleton Painter — James Ensor


The Bad Doctors — James Ensor

Affiche de la Plume — James Ensor


The Deadly Sins — James Ensor

Skeletons Trying to Warm Themselves — James Ensor

The Frightful Musicians — James Ensor


Tribulations of Saint Anthony — James Ensor