And the Beat goes on....

        Everyone realizes the importance of music in our lives.  For centuries live music
        performances in all cultures have excited, soothed and inspired.  People have various
        forms of music that they turn to either daily or when particular life events occur.
        Hearing music from any era can trigger memories and induce copious emotions.

                                              "Afffection Violins"  Philippe Guillerm

        I have always been aware of the way the arts intertwine but the death of John Prine
        got me thinking about the way music has inspired visual artists and visa versa.  I have
        a family friend who is a painter and illustrator and often mentions the music he listens
        to while creating in his studio.  John Prine's music has been such a source for John
        Coburn and that connection inspired me to research a few other artists.

                                                            John Prine 1970's

               A few pieces of the vast and wonderful collection of John Coburn, Toronto:

                                       "Saint-Germaine Paris"  pen & ink, 2017  14" x 11"

                                  "Lindis Pass" New Zealand,  oil on canvas,  2020 16" x 40"

                                                  "Paris" pen & ink,  2017  11" x 9"

                                 "Red Dress" Chouisel, St. Lucia  oil in board  2017 14" x17"

                                            "Coyoacan" Mexico, pen & ink 1994 18" x 30"

       * see more John Coburn on Instagram, Facebook or Google-John Coburn Toronto Artist

       I found a few articles on-line, mainly in Arts Magazines, that discussed art works that
       were created with the "ears" of the artist as well as the hands.  I decided to look into a
       few visual artists, mainly painters, that readers would likely recognize and look at
       their musical preferences.  My art history education provided many ideas for this post.
       It appears that a direct correlation between specific musicians and visual artists was not
       noted until the late 1800's.  There were a number of musicians whose compositions
       were directly inspired by paintings.  For example, Respighi created a symphony in 1919
       based on Renaissance master Botticelli's painting "Primavera", 1482.

                                                   "Primavera" Botticelli

        Leonardo Da Vinci's painting may not have been influenced directly by music but I
        must mention the most famous painting in the world, "Mona Lisa" 1503.  Nat King
        Cole crooned about her illusive smile in Ray Evans and Jay Livington's popular song
        "Mona Lisa" 1950.

         Reference: Daily Art Magazine "Music and Life"

                                                       "Mona Lisa" Leonardo

        In Japan in c.1829-1833 Hokusai made his famous print "The Great Wave" and one
        hundred seventy years later, Debussy wrote "La Mer"1905, inspired by Hokusai's art.    

        Reference: Houston Public Media "Great Painting that Inspired Music"

                                                          "The Great Wave", Hokusai

       Impressionist George Seurat's painting of "A Sunday Afternoon, La Grande Jatte"
       1884 is iconic.  Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for a Broadway musical
       called "Sunday in the Park with George", based on a book by James Lapine. 1984

                                         "A Sunday Afternoon, La Grande Jatte"  Seurat

       Van Gogh's painting "The Starry Night" 1889 was celebrated in Don McLean's
       ode "Vincent", 1972.

                                          "The Starry Night" Van Gogh

     Whistler, famous for the painting of his Mother, painted a series of moody fog-
     filled canvases in London, 1871.  Each featured a different colour palette and were titled
     Nocturnes after Chopin's solo piano compositions in 1831 "The Nocturnes".

                                             "Nocturne in Blue and Gold" Whistler

            Wassily Kandinsky is one of the first painters of the Twentieth Century to explore
            Abstract Art where colours, shapes, line and form become the main subject matter
            of a canvas.  He embraced scientific theories about colour and the spiritual aspects
            of music, specifically inspired by the music of Ravel, Stravinsky, Wagner and
            Rimsky-Korsavov.  Kandinsky often titled his paintings with musical references
            such as "Composition 8."  In 1928, Kandinsky mounted a Bauhaus stage
            production based on Mussorgsky's 1874 music, "Pictures in an Exhibition".

            Reference: "Open Culture Magazine"
                                           "Improvisation 28" 1925  Kandinsky

           Picasso was influenced by Spanish Classical Music.  He was friends with many
           musicians including Stravinsky and created over seventy paintings and collages
           featuring the violin and the guitar.
                                                    "Guitar" Picasso 1912

          Piet Mondrian created abstract paintings that reduced the elements of art to their
          basics.  Colour and shapes were arranged according to the rhythm of life that
          surrounded Mondrian in modern New York city.  He believed in the spiritual
          power of music and used that inspiration in his work.

                                          "Broadway Boogie Woogie" Mondrian 1942

          Georgia O'Keefe loved Opera, Classical and Sacred music.  Using music as one of her
          muses O'Keefe's canvases exude a spiritual, musical quality.

          Reference: Neil Shaw Cohen

                                                 "From the Lake" O'Keefe 1924

            Frida Kahlo's paintings were deeply influenced by her love of traditional
            Mexican Mariachi, Latin America Folk Music and Jazz.  The song
            "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay, 2008, was inspired by Frida Kahlo.

                                   "The Love Embrace of the Universe" Frida Kahlo 1949

               Barbara Hepworth, a British Sculptor, incorporated themes of music and
               movement in all her work.  Her musical mentors were Thomas Tallis, J.S Bach,
               Stravinsky and Benjamin Britten.  Her personal friend Priaulx Rainier
               experimented with unique forms of modern music and Hepworth and Rainier
               collaborated in a performance where her syncopated hammering on stone was
               integrated with his percussive soundtrack.  Movement and rhythm in Hepworth's
               sculpture reflect her belief in organic living.  She was very conscious the earth's
               daily and seasonal changes and the harmony in nature.

               Reference: Helena Bonett Kingston University, London

                                               "Two Figures" Barbara Hepworth 1949

                 Jackson Pollack is famous for his "action painting" where he "danced around" a
                 canvas on the floor frenetically dripping layers of paint while listening to music
                 that provided energy and rhythm as he created.  Dizzy Gillespie's Jazz was his

                                         "Autumn Rhythm" Pollock 1950
                Henry Moore preferred Classical and Choral music.  He believed that "Art
                should have a certain mystery and make demands on the viewer".  Nature's
                forms and spiritual music inspired Moore to sculpt with that purpose.
                Murray McLachlan wrote a song in 1974 "Down by the Henry Moore"
                to honour Moore's sculpture "The Archer" at city hall Toronto.

                                                   "Family Group" Henry Moore 1950

                In an overview of famous artist's I could not leave out Andy Warhol.  He was
                into Contemporary Folk, Rock and Pop music.  He managed the band
                Velvet Underground who performed in his studio space known as 'The Factory'.
                Warhol designed album covers for  Diana Ross, "Silk Electric" the Rolling
                Stones, "Sticky Fingers", Aretha Franklin's "Aretha", Liza Minelli's "Live at
                Carnegie Hall" and John Lennon's posthumous "Menlove Ave."

               Warhol created many iconic images of 20th century America and his work
               influenced many facets of Pop Culture, especially music.  David Bowie
               composed a song to celebrate "Andy Warhol".  Lou Reed and John Cale wrote
               an entire album as a tribute to Warhol.  It's title "Songs for Drella" used
               Warhol's nickname, a combination of Dracula and Cinderella.

                                                   Elvis I & II  Andy Warhol,  1963


                                   Credits to Google Images for Art reproductions.





1 comment:

  1. Hello Caron ! What a remarkable in depth story on music inspired art and visa versa ! Love your detail and visually poetically surprising thoughts on creative humans. Certainly honoured to have my name even mentioned in the same building ( page ) as John Prine ! Thank you so much Caron can’t wait to read more of your work ! Best John ( Instagram: itsjohncoburn )