Arts

Play On

Q.
‘If music be the food of love, play on.’

So says Shakespeare’s Orsino in ‘Twelfth Night.’

‘O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odor…’

What are some renowned paintings that capture melodic woo?

.

A.

Along with our header art by renowned American artist William H. Johnson (1901-1970) , here are some lovely examples below. You’ll note that the first three paintings come from the hands of Jean-Antoine Watteau, born 1684 in Valenciennes, France.

Watteau’s life was tragically short – he endured much illness and died of tuberculosis at the age of 37. Nevertheless, he managed to have an outsized influence on the French art scene and an international roster of painters to follow, such as JMW Turner and Jean-Honor√© Fragonard.

Jean-Antoine had a deep appreciation for music in isolation and as woven into ballet, opera and theatre. Given how beautifully he captured loving gestures in his paintings, it is interesting that Watteau never married nor publicly revealed any romantic relationships.

 

Jean-Antoine Watteau. The Scale of Love. ~1715-18

.

Jean-Antoine Watteau. La Surprise. ~1718

.

Jean-Antoine Watteau. The Perfect Accord. 1719

.

A sampling of other painters who captured melody-fuelled romance in their artworks…

.

.

Jean-Marc Nattier. The Music Lesson. 1710

.

Pierre Auguste Renoir. Country Dance. 1883

.

Emil Rau. The Serenade. 1937

.

William H. Johnson. Jitterbugs VI. 1941-42

.

www.justcurious.ca

Header Art: William H. Johnson, Jitterbugs (II), ca. 1941, oil on paperboard, 24 x 15 3/8 in. (61.0 x 39.1 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 1967.59.611

 

Previous

The Last Chocolate

Next

Hobble Skirts + Fanny Packs

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton