17 Apr 2014

Manet’s Spanish Singer Raises a Leg

Inspiration can come from anywhere so it's a good idea to look at the art of all periods. Artists do so, no matter which century they live in. A few days ago I solved one of my long-standing problems with a picture by the19th-century artist Edouard Manet (left) while I was studying a...

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12 Feb 2014

Note on Palette Sounds

My recent post on artists using stringed instruments as metaphoric palettes was restricted to guitars so I did not use this image. Perhaps I should have because while musicians may think lutes and guitars are very different, in artworks they are much the same. Johannes Cornelisz van Swieten, a...

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09 Feb 2014

Artists and the Thumb-hole of a Guitar

I read once that Cézanne prepared his palette with as many as 18 pigments and lined them up in a series like musical scales.1 It’s an apt analogy because painters have long portrayed musicians as an allegory of their own poetic performance in the studio. When Manet and Courbet painted...

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04 Feb 2014

A Musical Note and Letters

It's a red-letter day for Raphael. I have been showing a lot of letters recently, how Raphael and Renoir each used objects shaped like an R, how Manet and Matisse used M’s and Ingres used an I. And I doubt before this evening that anyone has ever shown that the Virgin in Raphael's great...

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20 Jul 2011

A Musical Eco

Umberto Eco once wrote that “Every Broadway musical is, as a rule, nothing other than the story of how it is put on.”1 His insight into what the various plots have in common is striking because it is equally true of great paintings. The common features of a great musical are, of...

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