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Circus Sideshow

Thomas B. Cole, MD, MPH
JAMA. 2012;307(17):1780. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.537.
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The traveling circus of Fernand Corvi staged a series of performances in Paris during the Gingerbread Fair of 1887. Georges Seurat's (1859-1891) painting of the grand entrance to the Cirque Corvi, Circus Sideshow (cover), features a trombonist in a conical hat who entertains a crowd of people waiting to see the show. A row of musicians accompanies him on cornet, clarinet, and tuba, and to the trombonist's left, a boy in a ruffled collar admires the stern profile of the circus ringmaster. A haze of artificial light draws the crowd into the aura of the performance. Like Seurat's other major works, the features of this painting—the haze, the soft panels of color, and the shapes of the people and objects—are all constructed with tiny dots of paint.

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Georges Seurat (1859-1891), Circus Sideshow, 1887-1888, French. Oil on canvas. 99.7 × 149.9 cm. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (http://metmuseum.org/), New York, New York; bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960, 61.101.17. © The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource, New York, New York.

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