Thursday Thoughts – Cirkus Art and Posters

We visited Västervik this summer, and we happened to visit on the last days of this excellent exhibition of original cirkus posters. They were rather worn, and were to be digitalised and saved for future generations. These original posters come from one of the most extensive collections of cirkus posters in the world. Amazing.

From my childhood memories, cirkus posters mostly looked like the left one, Trolle Rhodin’s cirkus. But here, we found an interesting collection of Polish posters from Cyrk and the Polish School of Posters. See the stunning difference between these two. I just had to post a gallery with some of them. I don’t have to say that my most loved one is the lion having humans jump through the ring… As a child that was my greatest wish…, and a wish for bulls chasing humans in the fighting arena too.

I just loved the simple and clean approach in these Polish artists’ hands. And the hidden messages. I also learned that long ago the cirkuses often had ”real” artists making their posters. Like this left poster by Tolouse Lautrec. The middle one is a poster from a time when ”strange and abnormal” people where shown to the audience. These two girls were albinos. (19th century)

The last advertisment is about Cirkus Madigan (also 19th century) and the beautiful Elvira Madigan. I guess some of you have heard her story or seen the movie on her tragic loveaffair with Sixten Sparre. It is always strange to realise that some movies were built on real persons, and real fates. We will never know the true story of course, but seeing her name there made her come alive to me. I loved that movie.

25 reaktioner på ”Thursday Thoughts – Cirkus Art and Posters

  1. These are a wonderful find, A-C! The one on the top right made me chuckle because when she was little, our older daughter one day said, “When I grow up, I want to be a contortionist.” Where that came from we have no idea, but we did get a good laugh out of it. Needless to say, she’s not a contortionist and quite happy anyway. 😉

  2. What a great collection of circus art. When I was a child, my parents used to take me, and I was far too polite to say that I didn’t like the animal acts, the acrobats – in those days – bored me – and I wasn’t keen on the clowns.

    • Thank you, I found them interesting. And The message of wild animals versus humans suits me well. We have done them so much wrong in the old days, and still do in many places.

  3. Like you I grew up at a time when much was displayed in circuses we no longer do, including imprisoned animals and humans born looking different to what one expected ! Still fondly remember going to ‘tsirkus’ as a bub when when mature thought was lacking . . . That said I love the simple, strong artistry of the circus art from Poland ! Have a story – my Mom came from a family of nine, almost sall of whom married all over Europe!!! My oldest auntie Alma to a Polish army general > three daughters . . . for over three decades the youngest, Barbara, was a close friend. True story – she was one of Poland’s foremost commercial ++ artists who drew a lot from the theatre and circus work – seems to me I have some homework ahead !!!

    • Fantastic story, Eha! You are a gem! I cannot say I loved cirkus, felt sorry for the wild animals, but loved the acrobatic artists and their fancy clothes…and I always loved the horses in their shining armour. We had a cirkus in the neighbourhood, in our little village, with handsome twin brothers with golden locks…every little girl was in love wiht them. In fact I believe I went much because of those two young men…
      And indeed you have some homework to do! Finding out more about your Barbara!

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