All art is contemporary…Episode #8

28 January 2021

“The way of music”

A small journey through the musical tempo in the works of Flashback Ludens, the edition dedicated to creative ability as an instrument. Many works throughout the pathway. Each of them to scan the rhythm, each of them to beat the time. From adagio, lively, andante to allegro, lively and presto, in a gait of cadenced steps.

Let us start from the Natura morta di strumenti musicali e libri con spartito, of the second half of the 17th century, by Bartolomeo Bettera, where the instruments reign in stillness. A work where the artist – through the personal distribution of void and full in the construction of the image – suspends time, crystallizing it into the instant that is immediately preceding or following the music.  

The element of caducity adds to the temporal suspension in Vanitas, natura morta con specchio, teschio, libri, flauto dolce e violino, oil on oak panel, by Jan Vermeulen, born in the Netherlands in 1638. The memento mori, accompanied by the musical instruments, calls to mind a heart-rending requiem and the immortality of art.

Presence – absence also in oil on canvas Still life of 1940 by Antonio Donghi, which – as a major representative of Magic Realism – enriches the representation by a charming narrative suspension, exasperating the dreamlike transcendent dimension of the work.

Is the Angelo (musicante?), a sculpture in polychromatic oak wood, whose origin is from Savoy, of the third quarter of the 15th century, playing an instrument or singing?

The two protagonists of work Due giovani donne al piano, of 1911 approx., by Giovanni Boldini, play the piano and the lively mastery of the pictorial gesture makes the melody present.

A melody that releases in its majesty, involving Le menadi danzanti. The work – of 1882 – is of Raffaello Sorbi from Florence. The artist has dedicated many of its works to the ludic theme, sketching out its romantic and Dionysian vein with great ability.

Finally, a dancer is also La Bayadère, by Paul-Albert Besnard, another work imbued with romantic spirit. The Indian temple dancer is historically the protagonist of Marius Petipa’s ballet, which narrates Salgari’s India, seen through the eyes of the romantic colonialists of the 19th Century. 

“If the music is too loud, you are too old”. 
Ozzy Osborne

In the image, on the top Left /hand: Jan Vermeulen, Vanitas, natura morta con specchio, teschio, libri, flauto dolce e violino, (Vanitas, still life with mirror, skull, books, recorder and violin), oil on oak panel, cm 42.5 x 55.5, courtesy of Il Mercante delle Venezie (Vicenza). Followed by: Raffello Sorbi, Le menadi danzanti, (The dancing maenads) 1882, oil on canvas, cm 39 x 19.2, courtesy of 800/900 Art Studio (Livorno; Lucca). Followed by: Giovanni Boldini, Due giovani donne al piano (Two young women at the piano), 1911 approx., oil on panel, 35 x 26.5, courtesy of Bottegantica (Milan). 
At the center, on the LH side:  Antonio Donghi, Still life, 1940, oil on canvas, cm 49.5 x 56, courtesy of ML Fine Art – Matteo Lampertico (Milan; London). 
Below, on the LH side: Bartolomeo Bettera, Natura morta di strumenti musicali e libri con spartito, (Still life of musical instrument and books with score) second half of the 17th century, oil on panel, cm 93 x 121, courtesy of Arcuti Fine Art (Rome; Turin). Followed by: Paul-Albert Besnard, La Bayadère, oil on canvas, cm 49.7 x 61, courtesy of Paolo Antonacci (Rome). Followed by: Angelo (Musicante?) (Angel – Musician?)  Savoy, third quarter of the 15th century, polychromatic oak wood, cm 82 x 24 x 30, courtesy Longari Arte Milano (Milan).