Posted 5 months ago
This figure arrived earlier this week from Europe and (given the state of the box he was in) he 'only just made it' Down Under intact. He is another of the figures by the Italian trained Leopold Anzengruber. This one interests me because of the treatment of the unglazed terra cotta face. The look on the face is almost like a mask and may refer to the Commedia dell'Arte. He is certainly different to the 'Volkstyp' characters I have already in my small collection. The minstrel is perched on a rock much like some other portraits of the naughty but clever Till Eulenspiegel.
Look at the way his feet surround the rock on which he is perched!
I love the mediaeval costume's colours suggested in a really thick glaze. The colour of his bonnet is really vivid. He makes sense all around; a new angle and he reveals a little more humour, a little more naughtiness.
Young Leopold was born in Steyr, Austria on 30 March 1912. Interestingly after leaving school he was trained at a young age in Firenze, Italy. He didn't return to Austria until 1942. After World War II, in 1948, he set up Anzengruber-Keramic by taking over the pottery workshop of Gusti Mundt-Amann 49 Boecklin Strasse, Vienna 2. He made a go it and the business flourished. The modelling of a one of the Three Wise Men in a Nativity Scene - a Moor - interested him and he began working on the design of many Negro and African figures, both male and female. They were a hit and soon became iconic images of the mid-century period. In 1958 the company employed 96 people.
Till Eulenspiegel is an impudent trickster figure originating in Middle Low German folklore. His tales were disseminated in popular printed editions narrating a string of lightly connected episodes that outlined his picaresque career, primarily in Germany, the Low Countries and France. He made his main entrance in English-speaking culture late in the nineteenth century as "Owlglass".