CLOWNS & CLOWNING
In autumn 2007, the French university Lyons II began offering a one-year, postgraduate course entitled "Art of the Clown." Students are taught anthropology, sociology, and economics (in case they "go on to manage a troupe"), and are then instructed in practical clowning at the House of Circus and Clown Arts.
The three traditional varieties of clown are the "whiteface," the "Auguste," an the "character" clown. The whiteface is the oldest of the clown forms and is characterized by a pure white face and neck, a bald head, and, very often, a ruff and a pointed hat. The Auguste, whose role tends to be that of general buffoon and pie-in-face receiver, can usually be identified by his large, ill-fitting clothing, bulbous nose, and brightly colored wig. Character clowns are the most realistic and tend to be based on characters such as the "sad tramp" or the "happy hobo." The archetypal character clown was Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp from The Kid (1921).
On the first Sunday in February every year, a church service is held for all UK clowns in memory of "the father of modern clowns," Londoner Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837). Clowns attend the service at Holy Trinity Church, Dalston, East London, in full "motley and slap," and can often be persuaded to perform for the public afterward.
Vincnet Van Gogh (1853-90)