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The linear variety of this drawing reveals how Gris could anchor recognisable subjects within a carefully conceived geometry. The character of Harlequin, from the Commedia dell’Arte, emerges out of a sequence of rhyming elements, emphasised by heavier lines. This is a preparatory drawing for a painting of the same title and Harlequin’s identity is indicated by the convention of his curving hat, rather than by his more familiar multi-coloured checked costume.

March 2008