What we now call Tableau is a form of what 19th Century entertainers would have called Tableau Vivant. Paintings or historical moments were created as fair sideshows or stage shows. Costumed actors with props would recreate the composition and freeze for on lookers. It was an attempt to bring art to everyday people in a time before mass photography or mass colour reproductions.
Street entertainers, costumed, painted and posed 'frozen' in Covent Garden, the street market in Barcelona or a million other locations are the direct descendants of this tradition.
Justin Nunnink Photographer recreates Salvador Dali
tableau vivant or living picture