tableau vivant

Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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 classic literature ?
But if her conduct and appearance had already somewhat jarred upon their limited and precise sense of the fitness of things, what were they to think of the next little act in this tableau vivant? The cabman, red and heavy-jowled, had come back from his labors, and held out his hand for his fare.
Just the sort of artful tableau vivant to impose on an old lady --was it not?
For if we are subjected to the production of truth through power, and cannot exercise power except through the production of truth, if the means of production are fair play to the few and inimical to the many, then allowing us the ability to at least laugh at the misfortune of having to live through a tableau vivant of Saturn Devouring His Son is perhaps our only recourse to maintaining sanity.
Franzel's excellent edited volume examine actual and fictional performances staged from 1750 to 1850, in which audiences were engaged with scientific experiments, philosophical lectures, theater performances, musical concerts, tableau vivant displays, declamatory concerts, and public memorial celebrations.
The tableau vivant, or group of living statues, was a regular feature of medieval and Renaissance festivities and pageantry, such as royal entries by rulers into cities.
Mourning, 2008, in particular, a tableau vivant depicting three black mourners on a raised platform in a film studio, struck a grace note that resonated through the exhibition.
The rhapsodic excitement woven into the tapestry of talking voices and masked figures leaves a pervading sense that this is a tableau vivant, made of dreams, recollections and fantasies, stillness and movement, pose and spontaneity, scraps of conversation, elliptical asides, flashes of description and heady excitement, but also uneasiness (is this laughing or being laughed at?) and evanescence.
Le visiteur se trouve ainsi porte de tableau vivant en tableau vivant, contemplatif et captive devant les juxtapositions inusitees des musiciens dans ce sublime decor aux allegories manifestes (2).
Neovoxer was an experimental, non-dialogue feature film and event that included live performance of its musical score and sound effects, site-specific installation and tableau vivant. Pope was writer, director, editor as well as actor, designer, and one of the composers of the project.
The mayor's wife joins this tableau vivant of allegedly "free" women with no voice and no vision of their own gazing in disbelief, stupefaction, incomprehension, and grudging admiration at Tahirih, their prisoner, who shocked her countrymen with her "naked face" and fearless words.
By concentrating on the conclusion of the Biblical tragedy, I will show how Vondel experimented with visual and verbal images (e.g., in tableau vivant and vivid description) to urge the theatergoers to imagine themselves in the same difficult situation as David in order to come to a direct and emotional understanding of the Biblical story.
Tableaux Vivants The Italian nativity comes to life through a "tableau vivant'' theatrical presentations, featuring students enacting the presepe's mix of high and low, angels and demons.