Music inspires me to make art. There’s nothing like it for getting the creative juices flowing. So I was curious to see the exhibition at the National Gallery, “Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure”. http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/vermeer-and-music/*/tab/4
For Vermeer, music represented the fleeting nature of life. In 17th century Netherlands, long before music could be recorded, the piece would be played and as the last note faded the experience was lost forever. I love that idea! How strange to think how things have changed so that now my boyfriend and I have cupboards full of CDs (and a one in, one out policy!). We are purists, finding that music sounds better on a CD than an MP3, and making a point of purchasing everything on CD, thus keeping HMV afloat singlehandedly.
In the exhibition the work that inspired me the most was the Kenwood Vermeer, which shows a young musician playing an early guitar. Vermeer’s colours are definite, considered. He develops a shorthand where he paints on the absolutely essential details to evoke the painting. The piece is full of exuberance, but Vermeer has left a whole swathe of the top right hand side of the canvas as an almost blank of grey wall. It gives the piece tremendous balance so that when you look you are filled with calm and silence, as well as joy.
I highly recommend both the exhibition and the audio guide. The latter is hard work, but very enlivening. If you can’t make it to the exhibition, this video will give you a wonderful insight into it. http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/rich-media/video/featured/music-and-painting-in-the-dutch-golden-age-film
The piece made me long for my beautiful, hand made Spanish guitar, and reminded me of one of my very first photo essays when I was 14, in 1987, which was a black and white series of close ups of my guitar, so I did a little photoshoot with my guitar to remind me!