For those who enjoy people watching, today’s “Ball” offers much to appreciate. Spanish painter Jose Garcia y Ramos supplies a busy street scene outside the venue of that evening’s masked ball. There are so many neat expressions and curious interactions throughout this piece. Ramos’s painting has a rich, lively atmosphere which seems authentic, as if it were taken from real life study.
Assuming the party has concluded, I love that many of attendees are shown still wearing their various masks and costumes, creating a spectacle—for better or worse—for pedestrians and whoever else is idling outside. Pending one’s safety, attracting attention in this manner can offer quite an experience. I can definitely identify with that. It reminds me of my years living in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, during which I would dress up for nightclubbing and then walk up Rush Street, the poshest strip in town, on way to my destination. I always enjoyed that part of my routine.
In this work my eye is immediately drawn to the couple stepping into the street. The man appears to be in a hurry, while the woman, boldly looking outward at our viewer, is taking her time.
I am to assume the men wearing top hats and long coats are coach drivers waiting for their pick ups. The short fellow in the middle seems to be quite the character. I bet he has some stories to share.