tableau vivant

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tableau vi·vant

n. pl. tab·leaux vi·vants (tă-blō′ vē-väN′)
A scene presented on stage by actors who remain silent and motionless as if in a picture.

[French : tableau, picture + vivant, living.]

tableau vivant

(tablo vivɑ̃)
n, pl tableaux vivants (tablo vivɑ̃)
(Theatre) a representation of a scene, painting, sculpture, etc, by a person or group posed silent and motionless
[C19: literally: living picture]


(tæˈbloʊ, ˈtæb loʊ)

n., pl. tab•leaux (tæˈbloʊz, ˈtæb loʊz)
1. a picture, as of a scene.
2. a picturesque grouping of people or objects.
3. a representation of a picture, scene, etc., by one or more persons suitably costumed and posed.
[1690–1700; < French: board, picture]

tableau vivant

A French phrase meaning living picture, used to mean a silent and motionless group of people posed to portray a famous scene or event.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.tableau vivant - a group of people attractively arranged (as if in a painting)
arrangement - an orderly grouping (of things or persons) considered as a unit; the result of arranging; "a flower arrangement"
References in periodicals archive ?
Will enough poverty and frustration among the unnumbered--crowds of unemployed young people sitting in cafes, smoking, drinking tea, steeping in discontent, broke, without prospects; the day in day out reality of life in a system long maintained at the discretion of US foreign policy and design, a tableau-vivant I believe in far more than any pundit's daydream of democracy--lead to radical shifts in the paradigm of distribution?
Together they reveal Fenton (1819-1869) as a towering figure in the history of photography and an unparalleled master of all the young medium's genres--architecture, landscape, portraiture, still life, reportage, and tableau-vivant.
Storr dives headlong into the pop-cultural grotesque at the very outset of his catalogue essay, describing in detail an advertisement for a popular HBO series: "Half tableau-vivant, half tableau-dead, it is the emblem of the new season of The Sopranos.