Masks - 1980 (75x120cm)


Werner Berg focused in his late years of life on James Ensor’s paintings of masks which display enegmatically biting derision. Berg adapted the mask theme in his numerous paintings and woodcuts, most substantially in “Masks”. Berg was motivated to make the painting by the sight of the masqueraded figures participating in the carnival. Amidst the frolicking crowd, there stands out a menacing face of a hag with protruding eyes and bulging lips – it is as if Death descended upon the world in a fit of rage. Around the crowd, the actors of the whole miniature world theatre are assembling: a cold rascal, mischievous farmer, innocuous child, the foolish Bajazzo who is feining innocence, and the figure extending their hands in wonderment upwards, to the light. The colourfulness and the merriment underline the grotesquely dangerous nature of the scenery.


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