Herein the reader will find an elegant, intimate album of magnificent portraits in images and words. Art historian Stewart Buettner and music historian Reinhard G. Pauly have in an ambitious project of many years duration collected masterpiece portraits of great composers from around the world. In delightful essays, they tell the compelling stories behind the works. From the Renaissance (and before) to the twentieth century, from Vienna to St. Petersburg, from Paris to New York, these treasured portraits bring us into the salons, cafes, and studios where artists and composers met.
Erik Satie and Pablo Picasso, Gabriel Faure and John Singer Sargent, Emmanuel Chabrier and Edouard Manet, Richard Wagner and Auguste Renoir are just a few of the more than sixty-five pairs whose mutual inspiration is explored. The intriguing thesis: Few situations can be more volatile and perhaps more productive than those that find two important artists together, one as subject, the other as creator. Fortunately in the case of this volume, we have many of the visual records of those meetings which preserve, more or less, the appearance of the composers and provide a record of the artists creative abilities.
Nicolay Rimsky-Korsakov, portrayed in his light-filled study with manuscripts piled high on his desk, apparently tried to convince Valentin Serov to render him younger and his frock coat and cravat a slightly darker blue. Picassos stark pencil portrait of Satie came about after the artists paths crossed in Paris on the stage of the Ballets Russes.
Over the centuries the poses, dress, backgrounds, and media changed. Some of the portraits found their way to the worlds great museums- some are more sequestered in municipal or private galleries. In some instances the authors gleaned the stories from the artists and musicians themselves. Thus we are most fortunate to have this collection, which is not just another gallery of famous composers but rather a valuable and exhilarating