Luc Sante | Slideshow

Circus: The Photographs of Frederick W. Glasier

Circus: The Photographs of Frederick W. Glasier: Slideshow: Slide 9

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Living Statues, circa 1905

During the early 20th century, American museums and educational institutions used plaster casts to teach about classical traditions in art instead of the original works that could only be seen abroad. Circuses included living statues as part of the performance. Using white grease paint to cover their bodies completely, both men and women posed motionless, depicting classical statuary. As described by the circus promoters, the living statues were “Picturesque Plastic Poses. A Stately Study in White by Peerless Prodigies of Physical Perfection.”

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