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Francesco Lentini as a Lutenist

"Francesco Lentini as a Lutenist" is copyright    1999 by James G. Mundie. All rights reserved.  Reproduction prohibited.

Pen and ink, 9 x 7.5 inches, 1999
Collection of Marc S. Landes

Frank Lentini was born in Sicily in 1889. He was known on the midway as 'The King of the Freaks,' an appellation he bore proudly. Having a third leg with which he was able to kick a football, Frank was a popular attraction in his own right, but later himself ran a very successful ten-in-one show. Frank often remarked that his extra appendage served him well as a rudder while swimming and made a convenient stool to rest upon while fishing.

Frank was among the very first subjects I attempted in this series, but I was unsatisfied with the original composition. I later decided this motif borrowed from Jan Steen's 1655 self-portrait fit Lentini's personality. I don't know whether Frank was musically competent (he did appear holding a ukelele in one publicity photo), but the joy on the face of the musician as he performs for his audience reflects the pleasure Frank Lentini took in his career.

One of Frank Lentini's pitchbooks and several of his pitchcards may be seen here.

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All Images and Text James G. Mundie 2003 - 2018