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For many years, phans (myself included) have wondered about what Leroux!Erik’s mask ‘actually’ looked like. I’ve held for a long time that it was probably a very ordinary-looking mask for the time/place—since Christine doesn’t note it as being unusual—but had never seen any period masks that matched with what Leroux described. But then, early this summer, in the course of my on-going artistic historical research into PotO, I was extremely excited to uncover a style of mask that not only fit all the descriptions given in the book, but also—though it is nearly forgotten about nowadays—would have been readily available at the time the story is set! Additionally, it seemed to fit with the description given of Raoul’s masquerade mask (showing that Leroux had an awareness of this type of mask).
As soon as I had the opportunity to speak with her in person, I shared my discovery with FdelOpera, who quickly linked the mask I found with the term ’barbe du masque’—used in the original French text in reference to Erik’s mask, but rendered in various (inaccurate) ways in the different English translations. She was also able to find descriptions of this ‘barbe du masque’ in other historical documents, matching what I had found, to substantiate the connection even more strongly—effectively confirming that this *is* the sort of mask that Leroux had in mind as he wrote!
And so, it is my great honour to present this painting: Erik’s black silk mask, as intended by Gaston Leroux.
Acrylic on Bristol board, 11x14 inches
On tumblr here