Kasperl und Gespenst
Kasperl und Gespenst

Kasperl and a ghost

Carlo Böcklin, Basle, after 1911
Wood, painted
Kasperl: height 57 cm
ghost: height 55 cm
Inv. 1951.936.

3821px x 4822px
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In the age of electronic media the popularity of Kasperl has declined. Kasperl was first created as a figure on the real stage by the actor Johann Joseph Laroche (Pressburg 1745-1806 Vienna), as a variant of the jester Hanswurst. Kasperl was soon making public appearances in hand puppet shows at markets, amusement parks and on special family occasions. As a fool - first for adults and then for children - Kasperl was permitted everything: to engage in political satire and pranks, use foul language, eat Bratwurst and drink a lot, and above all deal out blows. He did this to settle quarrels according to his own peculiar standards of good and evil, giving the spectators occasion for cathartic laughter and shrieks. He could get away with anything. Carlo Böcklin (1870-1937), son of the painter Arnold Böcklin, was an architect and painter. He made these hand puppets of Kasperl and a ghost as toys for his children, then sold them through the Dürerbund until about 1920; he was a pioneer of 'art' puppets.

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