Saturday, January 12, 2013

Beasts and Demons

Now and then I receive email enquiries regarding background information on this image or that. 

This image is one that particularly caught my attention because I greatly admire the artwork of WT Benda. Peter was wondering if I knew the date or where this work might be. I do not. This reproduction is from an old Architectural Digest magazine with only the caption: A Mural Decoration by W.T. Benda.

Knowing Benda's fascination with masks, collecting and creating them, this retinue of beasts and demons makes a bit of sense, but still is a mysterious crowd. Some of you out there are fans of Benda, and knowledgeable besides. Do you know the date or whereabouts of this mural? Is this a reproduction of a study or of the actual mural? Are these dimensional masks placed on a painting, or is this a conceptual preliminary meant to drive the execution of full-sized masks? Enquiring minds want to know.

WT Benda — A Mural Decoration


Gordon Napier said...

Interesting. It looks almost medieval in the small view.

Annie said...

Hi Thom,

I didn't find additional information, but I did find a link to a YouTube video, In Appreciation of W. T. Benda:
that I think you will enjoy. You may see some images you haven't already seen.

Also, you might like a few of these high resolution images found at A Study In Contrasts:

K. Cohalan said...

This illustration appeared as a color plate (Plate IV) in the 1946 Encyclopaedia Britannica, volume 15, accompanying the "Masks" article and identified as a "mural painting by Wladyslaw T. Benda showing the dramatic use of masks as they are employed in grotesque pantomime". Two other plates show Benda masks.

K. Cohalan said...

Two more remarks:

The Encyclopaedia Britannica article on masks was written partly by Benda himself.

The illustration may represent Shakespeare's The Tempest. See's-Choice-2009/Oswald-Fell.htm