Rosaura from “Masks and Characters of Italian Theatre,” Le Journal des Dames et des Modes, Umberto Brunelleschi, c. 1914, Italian, pochoir and gouache, Gift of L.B. Audigier, 1934.1.157.
Le Journal des Dames et des Modes aimed to appeal to aesthetes and reflect the intellectual and artistic atmosphere of Paris from 1871 to 1914, conventionally known as the Belle Epoque. Distinguishing itself from its contemporary competitors, Le Journal published rich and vivid pochoir prints drawn by leading artists of the day, like this one by Umberto Brunelleschi, which were made by applying hand-colored stencils over copperplate engravings. The central figure is Rosaura; originating from the late-Italian Renaissance form of improvisational theater best known as Commedia dell’Arte, which relied on stock characters that had clearly defined roles, costumes and characteristics. Rosaura was notoriously tough, beautiful, calculating and narcissistic.