A tableau vivant (often shortened to tableau, plural: tableaux vivants), French for 'living picture', is a static scene containing one or more actors or models. They are stationary and silent, usually in costume, carefully posed, with props and/or scenery, and may be theatrically lit. It thus combines aspects of theatre and the visual arts.
A tableau may either be 'performed' live, or depicted in painting, photography and sculpture, such as in many works of the Romantic, Aesthetic, Symbolist, Pre-Raphaelite, and Art Nouveau movements.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, tableaux sometimes featured poses plastiques ('flexible poses') by virtually nude models, providing a form of erotic entertainment, both on stage and in print.
Tableaux continue to the present day in the form of living statues, street performers who busk by posing in costume.
Occasionally, a Mass was punctuated with short dramatic scenes and painting-like tableaux. They were a major feature of festivities for royal weddings, coronations and royal entries into cities. Often the actors imitated statues or paintings, much in the manner of modern street entertainers, but in larger groups, and mounted on elaborate temporary stands along the path of the main procession.Johan Huizinga, in The Autumn of the Middle Ages , describes the use and design of tableaux vivants in the late middle ages.
The history of Western visual arts in general, until the modern era, has had a focus on symbolic, arranged presentation, and (aside from direct personal portraiture) was heavily dependent on stationary artists' models in costume – essentially small-scale tableaux vivants with the artist as temporary audience. The Realism movement, with more naturalistic depictions, did not begin until the mid-19th century, a direct reaction against Romanticism and its heavy dependence on stylized tableau format.
This section needs additional citations for verification . (June 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Before radio, film and television, tableaux vivants were popular forms of entertainment, even in frontier towns.Before the age of color reproduction of images, the tableau was sometimes used to recreate artworks on stage, based on an etching or sketch of a painting. This could be done as an amateur venture in a drawing room, or as a more professionally produced series of tableaux presented on a theatre stage, one following another, usually to tell a story without requiring all the usual trappings and production of a full theatre performance. They thus influenced the form taken by later Victorian and Edwardian era magic lantern shows, and perhaps also sequential narrative comic strips (which first appeared in modern form in the late 1890s).
Tableaux vivants were often performed as the basis for school Nativity plays in England during the Victorian period; the custom is still practised at Loughborough High School (believed to be one of England's oldest grammar schools for girls). Several tableaux are performed each year at the school carol service, including the depiction of an engraving en grisaille (in which the subjects are painted and dressed completely grey).
Theatrical censorship in Britain and the United States forbade actresses to move when nude or semi-nude on stage, so tableaux vivants had a place in risqué entertainment for many years. In the early 1900s, German dancer Olga Desmond appeared in Schönheitsabende ('Evenings of Beauty') in which she posed nude in "living pictures", imitating classical works of art.
In the nineteenth century, tableaux vivants took such titles as "Nymphs Bathing" and "Diana the Huntress" and were to be found at such places as the Hall of Rome in Great Windmill Street, London. Other venues were the Coal Hole in the Strand and the Cyder Cellar in Maiden Lane. Nude and semi-nude poses plastiques were also a frequent feature of variety shows in the US: first on Broadway in New York City, then elsewhere in the country. The Ziegfeld Follies featured such tableaux from 1917. The Windmill Theatre in London (1932–1964) featured nude poses plastiques on stage; it was the first, and for many years the only, venue for them in 20th-century London.
Tableaux vivants were often included in fairground sideshows (as seen in the 1961 film A Taste of Honey ). Such shows had largely died out by the 1970s. Tableaux remain a major attraction at the annual Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, California.
Jean-François Chevrier was the first to use the term tableau in relation to a form of art photography, which began in the 1970s and 1980s in an essay titled "The Adventures of the Picture Form in the History of Photography" in 1989. 146) Other texts and Clement Greenberg's theory of medium specificity also cover this topic.The initial translation of this text substitutes the English word picture for the French word tableau. However Michael Fried retains the French term when referring to Chevrier's essay, because according to Fried (2008), there is no direct translation into English for tableau in this sense. While picture is similar, "... it lacks the connotations of constructedness, of being the product of an intellectual act that the French word carries." (p.
The key characteristics of the contemporary photographic tableau according to Chevrier are, firstly:
They are designed and produced for the wall. summoning a confrontational experience on the part of the spectator that sharply contrasts with the habitual processes of appropriation and projection whereby photographic images are normally received and "consumed" (p. 116)
By this, Chevrier notes that scale and size is obviously important if the pictures are to "hold the wall". But size has another function; it distances the viewer from the object, requiring one to stand back from the picture to take it all in. This "confrontational" experience, Fried notes,is actually quite a large break from the conventional reception of photography, which up to that point was often consumed in books or magazines.
The photographic tableau has its roots not in the theatrical tableau vivant, but in pictorialist photography, such as that of Alfred Stieglitz, a movement with its roots in Aestheticism, which already made heavy use of the tableau as a non-theatrical visual art style. Pictorialism, according to Jeff Wallcould be seen as an attempt by photographers to imitate painting (perhaps unsuccessfully):
Pictorialist photography was dazzled by the spectacle of Western painting and attempted, to some extent, to imitate it in acts of pure composition. Lacking the means to make the surface of its pictures unpredictable and important, the first phase of Pictorialism, Stieglitz's phase, emulated the fine graphic arts, re-invented the beautiful look, set standards for gorgeousness of composition, and faded. (p. 75)
However photography did have the ability to become unpredictable and spontaneous. This was achieved by making photographs related to the inherent capabilities of the camera itself. And this, Wall argues,was a direct result of photojournalism, and the mass media and pop culture industries.
By divesting itself of the encumbrances and advantages inherited from older art forms, reportage, or the spontaneous fleeting aspect of the photographic image pushes toward a discovery of qualities apparently intrinsic to the medium, qualities that must necessarily distinguish the medium from others and through the self-examination of which it can emerge as a modernist art on a plane with others. (pp. 76–78)
The argument is that, unlike most other art forms, photography can profit from the capture of chance occurrences. Through this process – the snapshot, the "accidental" image – photography invents its own concept of the picture. A hybrid form of the "Western picture" (pictorialist photography) and the spontaneous snapshot. This is the stage whereby Wallargues that photography enters a "modernist dialectic". Wall states that unpredictability is key to modern aesthetics. This new concept of the picture, which Wall proposes, with the compositional aspects of the Western picture combined with the unpredictability that the camera affords through its shutter, can be seen in the work of many contemporary photographic artists including Luc Delahaye, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Irene Caesar, and Philip-Lorca diCorcia.
The tableau as a form still dominates the art photography market. As Fried notes: "Arguably the most decisive development in the rise of the new art photography has been the emergence, starting in the late 1970s and gaining impetus in the 1980s and after, of what the French critic Jean-François Chevrier has called the "tableau form" (p. 143).
However, there appears to be only a handful of young, emerging artists working within the tableau form. Examples include Florian Maier Aichen, Matthew Porter and Peter Funch. More recently, Canadian artist, Sylvia Grace Borda, has worked since 2013 to continue to stage tableaux for the camera within the Google Street View engine.Her work creates 360° immersive tableau vivant images for the viewer to explore. Through her efforts to pioneer the tableaux vivant for online exploration, she and her collaborator, John M. Lynch, won the Lumen Prize 2016 for Web Arts.
The 1969 film, The Color of Pomegranates directed by Sergei Parajanov presents a loose biography of the Armenian poet Sayat Nova in a series of tableaux vivants of Armenian costume, embroidery and religious rituals depicting scenes and verses from the poet's life.
The 2013 film, A Field in England ,makes use of the effect to add to the general occult look of the film.
There is a 2014 feature film produced entirely in tableau format titled In the Crosswind .
Julia Margaret Cameron was a British photographer who is considered one of the most important portraitists of the 19th century. She is known for her soft-focus close-ups of famous Victorian men and for illustrative images depicting characters from mythology, Christianity, and literature. She also produced sensitive portraits of women and children.
Pictorialism is an international style and aesthetic movement that dominated photography during the later 19th and early 20th centuries. There is no standard definition of the term, but in general it refers to a style in which the photographer has somehow manipulated what would otherwise be a straightforward photograph as a means of "creating" an image rather than simply recording it. Typically, a pictorial photograph appears to lack a sharp focus, is printed in one or more colors other than black-and-white and may have visible brush strokes or other manipulation of the surface. For the pictorialist, a photograph, like a painting, drawing or engraving, was a way of projecting an emotional intent into the viewer's realm of imagination.
Anton (Anatole) P. Solomoukha was a Ukrainian-born French artist and photographer, and a foreign member of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts. From 1980, he specialized in narrative figuration. After 2000, he developed photo projects and is known as the inventor of a new form of expression in contemporary photography: “Photo painting”. In it, he associates the photographic image with pictorial research in tableaux frequently requiring a multitude of models.
Jeffrey Wall, OC, RSA is a Canadian artist best known for his large-scale back-lit cibachrome photographs and art history writing. Wall has been a key figure in Vancouver's art scene since the early-1970s. Early in his career, he helped define the Vancouver School and he has published essays on the work of his colleagues and fellow Vancouverites Rodney Graham, Ken Lum, and Ian Wallace. His photographic tableaux often take Vancouver's mixture of natural beauty, urban decay, and postmodern and industrial featurelessness as their backdrop.
Oscar Gustave Rejlander was a pioneering Victorian art photographer and an expert in photomontage. His collaboration with Charles Darwin on The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals has assured him a position in the history of behavioural science and psychiatry.
Erotic photography is a style of art photography of an erotic, sexually suggestive or sexually provocative nature.
Fine-art photography is photography created in line with the vision of the photographer as artist, using photography as a medium for creative expression. The goal of fine-art photography is to express an idea, a message, or an emotion. This stands in contrast to representational photography, such as photojournalism, which provides a documentary visual account of specific subjects and events, literally representing objective reality rather than the subjective intent of the photographer; and commercial photography, the primary focus of which is to advertise products, or services.
Tableau may refer to:
The history of erotic depictions includes paintings, sculpture, photographs, dramatic arts, music and writings that show scenes of a sexual nature throughout time. They have been created by nearly every civilization, ancient and modern. Early cultures often associated the sexual act with supernatural forces and thus their religion is intertwined with such depictions. In Asian countries such as India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Japan and China, representations of sex and erotic art have specific spiritual meanings within native religions. The ancient Greeks and Romans produced much art and decoration of an erotic nature, much of it integrated with their religious beliefs and cultural practices.
William Herbert Mortensen was an American glamour photographer, primarily known for his Hollywood portraits in the 1920s–1940s in the Pictorialist style.
Julien Vallou de Villeneuve was a French painter, lithographer and photographer.
Passion is a 1982 film by Jean-Luc Godard, the second full-length film made during his return to relatively mainstream filmmaking in the 1980s.
David Seidner was an American photographer known for his portraits and fashion photography.
The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting is a 1978 French experimental mystery film directed by Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz and shot by cinematographer Sacha Vierny. The film was inspired by the themes of French writer Pierre Klossowski and makes references to many of Klossowski's works including The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, The Baphomet and “La Judith de Frédérique Tonnerre.” Ruiz was originally commissioned by a French TV network to make an arts documentary on Klossowski, but what emerged is this film, a parody of the art documentary. The film was featured in film festivals after its release such as the London Film Festival in 1979. Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting has been noted as one of Ruiz's masterpieces that challenges the boundaries of cinema and film theory.
Venia Bechrakis is a visual artist who lives and works in Athens and New York City.
Sarah Small is an American artist, photographer, singer, and film director. Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Sarah’s work ranges from photography to her Tableau Vivant performances. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and graduated in 2001. In 2003, Small began studying Bulgarian vocal production in a start-up Bulgarian Women’s Choir, Yasna Voices. In 2007, Small left the larger choir and co-formed Brooklyn’s Balkan vocal ensemble, Black Sea Hotel. In 2009, she taught Portrait Photography at the Parsons School of Design, and has taught both high-school students and adults in darkroom photography. Small’s work has appeared in numerous publications including Vogue, Life, and The New York Times. Her work has been exhibited globally at venues such as Caprice Horn Gallery, The Corcoran Gallery, and the Australian Centre for Photography, and was named one of the “Top 13 Emerging Photographers” working today, by American Photo Magazine. In 2011, she was featured in The Washington Post and The New York Times for her 120-model Tableau Vivant performances.
Ellen Brooks is an American photographer. She began her career on the West Coast, and is associated with the Los Angeles-based art community of the late 1960s and '70s. In 1982 she moved to New York, where her practice has since been based. Her work is known for its boundary-pushing forays into sculpture, and for her use of screens and image altering pro-filmic photographic processes. She has shown at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Centre Pompidou, and has worked in the permanent collections of the MOMA, the Whitney, the National Museum of American Art, the Getty Museum, and others.
Alfred Horsley Hinton was an English landscape photographer, best known for his work in the pictorialist movement in the 1890s and early 1900s. As an original member of the Linked Ring and editor of The Amateur Photographer, he was one of the movement's staunchest advocates. Hinton wrote nearly a dozen books on photographic technique, and his photographs were exhibited at expositions throughout Europe and North America.
Fine art nude photography is a genre of fine-art photography which depicts the nude human body with an emphasis on form, composition, emotional content, and other aesthetic qualities. The nude has been a prominent subject of photography since its invention, and played an important role in establishing photography as a fine art medium. The distinction between fine art photography and other subgenres is not absolute, but there are certain defining characteristics.
Picture for Women is a photographic work by Canadian artist Jeff Wall. Produced in 1979, Picture for Women is a key early work in Wall's career and exemplifies a number of conceptual, material and visual concerns found in his art throughout the 1980s and 1990s. An influential photographic work, Picture for Women is a response to Édouard Manet's Un bar aux Folies Bergère and is a key photograph in the shift from small-scale black and white photographs to large-scale colour that took place in the 1980s in art photography and museum exhibitions. It is the subject of a monographic book written by David Campany and published as part of Afterall Books' One Work series.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tableau vivant .|
|Look up tableau vivant in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|