||Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Marie
||A knack for blending psychological and formal incident is one of Lautrec’s greatest gifts. Here the ringmaster’s cracking whip is like an electrical impulse, connecting his smart stage direction and the brilliant, theatrical grimace the bareback rider obliges with. The whip also figures as a spoke to the hub of the ringmaster’s tense silhouette, driving the circular composition in a slow, controlled arc. The decorative shapes and expressive outlines probably derive from Japanese prints; the influence of Degas – and of photography – is clear in the stress on “the moment” of action.