Saturday, November 15, 2014


Sergei Rachmaninov (w/A. Schönberg and K. Perry)
20" x 16", oil and acrylic on canvas, 2014
That the Schönberg painting (superimposed on a Katy Perry portrait) wasn't going to survive was clear ever since its inception. But instead of aborting the idea of painting one portrait on top of the other, I repeated it. Sergei Rachmaninov then was painted on top of the Schönberg/Perry combo. A 1965 Russian issued recording of Rachmaninov's Vespers Mass was the impetus for the choice. If I were to add yet another portrait of a classical composer to the mix the focus of the painting would surely shift back to Katy Perry again. But I won't do that: this painting is officially the illustration for the Vespers recording in the 2013/14 edition and exhibition of the top 100. Vespers is a wonderful choral work in fifteen parts divided over four sides of a double album. Steeped in the Russian Orthodox choral music tradition but with Rachninov's 20th century sensibility the piece breathes life. The fifteen parts of the choral work "are based on ancient chants such as the Znamenni, Kiev and Greek." (liner notes) I'm paying special attention to this because in the Spring I'm thrown in front of a class wanting to learn about the art history of the world up until the 15th century (yikes!) One of the last images in the textbook the class will be using is the famous 14th century German wood carving Vesperbild (Pietà).

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