Studio: international art — 10.1897

Page: 237
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French Illustrated Programmes

Undoubtedly the Programme, quite as
much as the book-cover, the ex-libris, or the in-
vitation-card, offers a wide field on which the
modern illustrator and decorative artist may freely
exercise his fancy. For the Programme is the poster
"in little," the portable poster, i'affie/te intime. To
this thin sheet the spectator—passing guest at
theatre, or concert, or fete—turns at once to find a
list of the pleasures in store. The Programme
should not be too explicit, but rather leave some-
thing to the imagination of him who consults it.
It should excite his curiosity, and set him speculat-
ing on the actors and the personages they are to repre-
sent; on the setting in which the drama is to unfold
itself. Already the mind of the spectator is dazzled
at the thought of the enchanted palace in the first
act, the moonlit forest of the second, and the apo-
theosis which in the third shall crown it all. Every-

thing is full of promise. Will it be fulfilled ? Will
there be poetry and fancy and tragic grandeur, and
music and gaiety to content the assembled crowd ?

In every hand the Programme flutters and palpi-
tates and beats its wings. It is the soul of all the
assembly, and represents the longings, the thoughts,
the manner of being of every separate individuality
composing the great public present. An inert
thing, yet it lives, and in it are concentrated and
revealed the impatience, the curiosity, the enthu-
siasm of all these human creatures. It stands for
the whole play, or the entire symphony; it is the
theme of all that is to happen in a moment more,
when the curtain shall rise and the conductor's baton
mark the players' time.

Illustrated, the Programme has a symbolical value,
a higher meaning. It strives to convey in a few
appropriate touches the essence, the keynote of
what is to come. The eye lingers the more gladly
on a page adorned by colour, or a happy and
striking arrangement of lines, for it is now some-
thing more than a mere source of information ; it.

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