How to Paint a Harlequin Clown

Updated March 23, 2017

The harlequinade is a type of comedic drama laden with physical humour. This style of play was developed in France during the 11th century but refined in Italy in the period preceding the Renaissance. Although they are usually one-act plays, harlequinades featured a broad cast of characters and revolved around four or five staple figures: the harlequin, pantaloon, columbine and clown. Although the characterisation and personality of the Harlequin clown has changed drastically through the years, clowns mimicking the classic style resemble Renaissance court jesters -- tight leggings, a loose diamond pattern blouse and black-and-white make-up.

Use a sponge to apply a foundation to your face; this base coat will help the make-up adhere to your skin.

Paint your face white leaving the area around the eyes blank so that there is a bare area of skin that resembles eyeglasses or an infinity sign.

Fill in the area around your eyes with black face paint using a paint brush; the complete clown face will resemble a black masquerade mask or raccoon patterning.

Alter the shape of the black area around the eyes so that it is narrow, wide, disconnected over the bridge of the nose, pointed over each eye, angled or otherwise modified to change the personality and look of the harlequin.


Be careful not to get make-up in the eyes, nose, ears and mouth. Flush eyes if accidental contact occurs.

Things You'll Need

  • Foundation
  • Facepaint
  • Paint brush
  • Sponge
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About the Author

Sylvia Cini has written informative articles for parents and educators since 2009. Her articles appear on various websites. Cini has worked as a mentor, grief counselor, tutor, recreational leader and school volunteer coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Clark University of Worcester, Massachusetts.