by Michael Prodger / RA250

Although Ensor was no recluse, his art was so distinctive that it stood out as odd even among the heterogeneous Les XX...

What Ensor developed in his Ostend studio was a way of turning reality into something strange and expressive, and he did this primarily through masks. Belgium and the Netherlands have a continuing tradition of carnival that has its roots in the Middle Ages and has been reflected in art through the phantasmagoria of Bosch, the kirmesses of Bruegel and the Dance of Death imagined most terrifyingly by Holbein.  Read the full article