Linse, Johannes

1875 Rotterdam ‐ 1930 The Hague
"Shadow theatre"
55 x 67 cm
Oil on canvas
Fine Art
Galerie Paffrath
14,500 €



The theater with its costumes, lights and stories in front of and behind the stages has always exerted a strong fascination for the artists at the turn of the century. The Dutch painter Johannes Linse was no exception. He addresses it in the work Shadow Theater, in which a young woman looks steadily out of the picture. The stranger wears a high-necked black dress, a wide-brimmed hat with a light gauze scarf, a fur stole and a gold brooch - a typical dress style of rich ladies around 1900. Behind her is an Indonesian shadow-puppet in front of a wooden wall. The figure depicts Raden Narayana. Raden Narayana was the boy name of Krishna, one of the three main deities of Hinduism. The shadow player figure comes from a Hindu epic, which is performed in traditional Indonesian shadow play (Wayang Kulit) to this day in Java, Bali and Sumatra. With the spread of Hinduism to Indonesia, the theater from India was also taken over. Around 1600, Indonesia became one of the first Dutch colonies and was called the Dutch East Indies. The Dutch colonial rule ended only in 1943. In Linse's time it was still part of the Netherlands, which may explain the reference to specifically this shadow theatre.