XV. The Devil

A masked Harlequin stands holding a torch between two small tied-up clowns in white.

Arlecchino or Harlequin is one of the world’s most famous clown characters, though he is not really a clown himself. By some accounts, he came from the demonic leader of the “Wild Hunt” which haunts many countries of Europe, including Germany (Erlkönig), the United Kingdom (Herla Cyning), and France (hellequin).

he two clowns by his sides are dressed in pure white, wearing their ceremonial balloon antlers, ready to be joined to Harlequin’s horde. Like many depictions of the Devil, Harlequin’s wild clothing and mask are there to terrify and baffle. But remember that Harlequin can also be a source of uninhibited creativity, a way to tap into one’s feral side. He is in a way primeval. If you join the clowns, you are never far from the spirit of Harlequin.

Harlequin features also in VI. The Lover of Clown Town. For even more, see Tarocchino Arlecchino.

Image Description

Harlequin stands holding a burning torch in the center of the card, between two tied-up clowns.

He wears a red mask with two yellow eyes on its cheeks and a black bicorne hat with gold trim and a gold eye in the center. Red and blue balloons folded into the shape of antlers are stuck in his hat. He sticks his tongue out and holds his left hand up with the back of the hand to the viewer. His shirt and pants are decorated with red, yellow, and green diamonds. There are yellow eyes in the centers of the diamonds on his pants. There is a smiling face in the middle of his shirt, with a tongue of blue ribbon hanging from its mouth. He wears a green ruffled collar and rainbow-colored ribbons stream around him. The torch in his left hand is green with a red flame.

He stands on a yellow and red globe with a five-pointed red star in its center. The two clowns are tied with ribbons around their necks that attach to a blue ring at the bottom of this globe. The two clowns wear ruffled outfits of white. They have round red noses and red clown shoes. They wear antlered clowns made of red and yellow balloons, with ears attached. The clown on the left has large black buttons on his outfit, and a triangle of black dots on his side.

The ground is black, and there is a low wall of light blue in the background.