Updated: Apr 7
Punchinello Figure by Jacques Callot. French 1616. Etching. 6.4 x 7.8 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Cyrano de Bergerac - portrait of the French dramatist. From the Paris, 1657 edition of his works. Engraving by Le Doyen. 6 March 1619 - 28 July 1655
Well, I am a day late because, when you have a young child, Easter is non-stop reverence and revelry. _______________
In the play "Cyrano de Bergerac", Rageneau the Baker finishes his introduction of Cyrano with some of his most poignant lines in the play:
He makes his way in the streets of Paris In guise of Punchinello, with a nose… Ah! My God, what a nose it is… that nose. People cannot pass by him on the street Without crying aloud: "Oh! Is that real? They laugh and say “Why it’s preposterous! Come on, take off the mask.” Ah, but Monsieur de Bergerac can never take it off.
To what is Rageneau referring? Punchinello or Pulcinella is stock character from commedia dell'arte of the 17th century who went on to become a stock character in Neapolitan puppetry (think Punch and Judy). His mask can varies, but ithe nose is always the most prominent feature often said to resemble a bird's beak.
For example, we have a wonderful Punchinello by the aforementioned artist Jaques Callot showing the exaggerated features to which Rageneau refers, and we compare it to a portrait of the historical Cyrano de Bergerac who was Edmund Rostand's inspiration for the play.
How big is Cyrano's nose really? We will have to wait and see...