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Art in the Flesh: Recreating Iconic Paintings with People

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Who here is familiar with Pageant of the Masters? For those who aren’t, its a ticketed event in Laguna Beach, CA that takes place during the summer that celebrates fine art, combining it with live performance. Actors are outfitted in period costumes and make-up to replicate various iconic paintings, sculptures, and other forms of art throughout history. Most of these works fall under a central theme each year, such as Fantasy, meaning that all of the works will nod or reference to some kind of mythology or fantasy in this case. In between artworks, they show how to set a painting or scene by having the actors take their places, adjust the backgrounds, and focus the appropriate lighting on the stage. The final result ends up resembling the real work of art so closely that many do a double take.

While performance art homages to classic and treasured works aren’t a new concept, Vienna’s Life Ball mimicked a similar idea to Pageant of the Masters by bringing in performers to replicate Gustav Klimt paintings.

While classic paintings and sculptures are literally “brought to life”, it is noted that many of these opportunities have been showcased at ticketed events. Not everyone has a chance to witness these performances in person but coming from experience, I would say it is something you do at least once.

What about you? Would you pay to see some of the treasured artworks from museums around the world replicated in person by sets, performers, and lighting?

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