The circus of colors and funny clowns!

circus and clown

The reaction of humans after hearing the name of a clown will be two groups, either they like them or they are afraid of them. In addition, the clown name is associated with the circus and is inseparable.

Today we are going to learn more about circuses and clowns, their history and most importantly color palettes to inspire a world full of circus and clown colors. Are you ready for a great show at the circus? Let’s go!

Circus, Wonderland!

To know the clowns better, it is better to first know what a circus is and what its story is. The circus may be considered a collection of different performances with diverse performers. Performers such as clowns, acrobats, stuntmen, dancers, musicians, magicians, rope players and animals.

Since the advent of circus shows, not only has the style of performances changed, but also the places where the performances take place. So it can be said that traditional circuses have changed compared to modern circuses.

The word circus is derived from the Latin word “circus”. The word is written in Roman as “kirkos” and in Homeric Greek as “krikos”, which means ring and circle. Also, an early Christian writer named Tertullian in his book De Spectaculis believes that the first circus games were performed by the goddess Circe. It is also performed in honor of his father, the goddess of the sun, Helios.

image of Alexander circus tent in blue and white

History of the circus

Most people know the beginning of the ups and downs of the circus story from Roman times. But some see it as the beginning of the English Philip Astley.

Traditional circus:

Circus in ancient Rome was a building where various equestrian competitions, chariot races, various battles between gladiators or animals. These buildings were also rectangular in shape with semicircular ends. And there were seats around the performance floor based on rankings for people.

Thus, the first circus built in Rome was made entirely of wood and was called the Maximus Circus. The circus also had a capacity of 250,000 people. Later, more circuses were built. With the passage of time and the fall of Rome, circus buildings became obsolete, and performers performed periodically in the city and at exhibitions in other cities.

a graphic image of traditional Roman and Greek circuses that were long and round at the end

Modern circus:

The father of modern circus is known as Philip Astley. He was a skilled rider. Astley began equestrian shows in 1768. A few years later, in 1770, Astley hired several acrobats, ropes, magicians, and clowns to fill the gaps between each equestrian show. In this way, he subconsciously created the first modern circuses.

It is true that Astley was not the first to use acrobatics, horseback riding and clowns for the show. But he was the first person to perform all these fun acts in a certain atmosphere he had created. Also, the building where the performances took place was a circular ground, the opposite of what was in traditional circuses. Gradually other people came and today there are bigger circuses all over the world.

a picture of a modern circus with a circular scene where several horses are trotting

The clown; creepy or cute!

Yes, you read the headline correctly. Creepy and cute are two different definitions for clowns. It all depends on how you look! After getting to know the circus, it is time to get to know the most important circus performer, the clown.

A clown is an actor who makes the audience laugh by performing certain plays and movements that are often inversion of popular norms. The biggest reason for the clowns’ popularity is their special make-up with a round red nose, as well as their colorful wigs and glamorous costumes.

All over the world, the clown has been a symbol of laughter. Also in some cultures, the clown is considered a symbol of short-sightedness and ridicule, and in some other cultures it is considered a symbol of honesty. Of course, in recent years, clowns have also become a symbol of fear and panic. The existence of Halloween in creating this is undeniable.

an image of a clown in the movie It holding a red balloon

History of the clown

The story of the clown is much older than the circus. The ancestors of modern clowns actually existed in the fifth dynasty of Egypt around 2400 BC. In fact, the first clowns existed in their king’s court to entertain them.

Different civilizations were aware of the existence of clowns, and for each of those civilizations, clowns appeared in different appearances. For example, in ancient Rome, clowns wore pointed hats. In ancient Greece, too, clowns were bald and tried to look bigger by wearing pillowcases.

Thus, in the 16th century, in the Commedia dell’Arte in Italy, it introduced masked characters named Arlecchino and Pirouette, who also showed themselves as clowns. And it was not until 1560 that the word clown was first used to denote such people. The word clown is derived from a Scandinavian word meaning clumsy.

painted image of the clowns of the Commedia dell'Arte

In this way, in the following centuries, the characters of the lower class, stupid, capricious and witty in the form of clowns appeared in various silent theaters, non-silent theaters as well as various books.

But the birth of modern clowns can be considered in the 19th century. In this century, modern circuses opened by Astley flourished, with a clown on display. Later, in 1870, Tom Belling performed for the Renz Circus in Vienna. The costumes that Belling wore at the circus later became a model for other circus clowns.

Costume of  Belling portrayed a lower-class figure with a red nose, white makeup around the eyes and mouth, along with large shoes and oversized clothes. This costume gradually became the main feature of today’s clowns, of course with a few changes!

image of a clown with white face and red lips and nose

Types of clowns

There are actually three types of clowns: 1. White-faced clown 2. August clown 3. Character clown. Nowadays, other types of clowns have been added to these three types, which are called tramp and hobo clowns. But in fact these clowns are types of character clowns. The reason for the difference between these clowns depends on their special arrangement and how exaggerated it is, so it can be grotesque or neat.

1. White-faced clown

This clown, which has the highest position among other clowns, was designed in 1801 by Josie Grimaldi. White-faced clown makeup, as its name implies, is shown by whitening the face and neck, painting the mouth with a grin, and black eyebrows on the performer’s face. Also, the clothes of this type of clown are very extravagant. In addition, he has a complex personality.

picture of a white-faced clown on a train in a light-colored suit and black hat

2. August clown

This type of clown is shown in pink, brown and red by painting his face. Also, the clown’s lips and eyebrows should be black and his eyes and mouth should be white. This clown can be both ragged and well-dressed. His character can also be said to be a fool, an anarchist and a joker.

painting of august clown with colorful clothes and white eyes and lips

3. Character clown

You have probably guessed how it is by hearing the name of this clown. In fact, character clowns imitate different people. People like butcher, policeman, cook, doctor, baker, wanderer and even housewife!

Moreover, these clowns have a makeup more similar and closer to the real human. In this way, their arrangement is close to the body color. It is also possible to use anything like glasses, freckles, beards and mustaches, warts, big ears or weird hairstyles to show these clowns.

Tramp and hobo clowns can also be considered a subset of character clowns. Tramp clowns travel a lot but are always sad and do not have a positive attitude. In addition, hobo clowns travel a lot and have a positive attitude but no chance.

a picture of a character clown with yellow haire, a black hat and dress with a sunflower on his hat

Famous clowns

Throughout history, there have been clowns who became famous. like the:

• The Englishman Joseph Grimaldi was the first modern clown. For this reason, even today clowns are called “Joey”, which stands for Joseph.

• Matthew Sally was the first circus clown in the United States.

• American John Durang was another circus clown who, like Matthew Sally, performed at the Ricketts Circus.

Color palette inspiration of circus and clown

Circuses and clowns are the best option for making a color palette. Because you can be sure that you will have the most beautiful and varied palette.

Below is a collection of different color palettes inspired by clowns and circuses and created by Dopely color palette generator. Palettes that are definitely useful for your design.

color palette inspiration of circus and clown with dopely color palette generator 1
color palette inspiration of circus and clown with dopely color palette generator 2
color palette inspiration of circus and clown with dopely color palette generator 3
color palette inspiration of circus and clown with dopely color palette generator 4
color palette inspiration of circus and clown with dopely color palette generator 5
color palette inspiration of circus and clown with dopely color palette generator 6
color palette inspiration of circus and clown with dopely color palette generator 7

The last word

Today’s circuses and clowns are very different from their ancestors. But what they all have in common is the variety of colors. And these are the colors that never have a boring ending. As you can see, the circuses and the clowns both had a long story to tell. However, in each part of this story, you can get ideas for a design!

I hope you enjoyed it!

Posted by

It's Nazanin. For me who loves the rainbow after the rain. What could be more beautiful than writing about colors ?! Well, I'm here now, in Dopely, to share my writings about colors with you and take you with me to the world of colors!

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