SEEING WITH YOUR EARS, WITH FLORIS KORTIE
ING Art Management has asked TV presenter Floris Kortie to select a piece of music to go with each highlight. Here he explains his choice. Listening to these pieces of music, while seeing them at the fair, allows you to experience the artwork in a new way.
This Egyptian urn made me think of Arvo Pärt (1935), one of the most famous and spiritual composers of our times. His Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
is a kind of musical embalming of the composer whom he so admires. Pärt pays musical homage to Britten in this piece and makes him live on via the music.
KALLOS GALLERY LONDON
An Egyptian canopic jar
Banded alabaster with black pigment
H. 42 cm
Dynasty - ca. 664-525 BC
South America is immediately recognisable in Tonada la Brugita
, an 18th-century traditional
from Peru. You know where the music comes from as soon as you hear these swinging and compelling rhythms. Just like this feather poncho: when we see its colours and geometric patterns, we know in an instant that it comes from Peru.
GALERIE MERMOZ PARIS
Mosaic of multi-coloured feathers sewn on a yarn weaving
182 x 140 cm
Unku, 400 – 700 A.D.
Religion was at the heart of the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), who found great inspiration in church reformer Martin Luther. His St Matthew Passion
has an aria (‘Gebt mir meinen Jesum wieder’) which, in its resolve, goes well with this lively and self-assured portrait of Philipp Melanchthon, besides Luther one of the main figures behind the Protestant Reformation.
SENGER BAMBERG KUNSTHANDEL BAMBERG
Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472 - 1553) and workshop
Portrait of Philipp Melanchthon
Oil on beech wood
20 x 14 cm
After love and God, I think the universe is the subject that has been sung and composed about the most. But how do you set something so immense to music? In his The Planets, Gustav Holst (1874-1934) gives each planet its own musical personality. Particularly original is the way in which he expresses the endlessness of Neptune, the farthest planet away. He has a choir sing backstage behind a slowly closing door – the first fade-out in the history of music.
STEPHANE CLAVREUIL RARE BOOKS LONDON
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543)
Published by Johann Petreius (1497 – 1550)
De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium
27 x 19 cm
Table with mother-of-pearl
Just like people nowadays listen to a romantic dinner play list on Spotify, the well-to-do in the 18th century had their own music which was written to accompany a meal and conversion. One good example is the Tafelmusik
by Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767). Meant to be a kind of wallpaper music for at banquets, Telemann fortunately refused to make it a boring affair. Surprisingly good music, which is quite enjoyable even without a table such as this one.
AR - PAB LONDON
Teak, mother-of-pearl, nielloed silver, tortoiseshell and brass
91 x 55 cm
second half of the 16th
This bacchanal would go well with Mozart's opera about the seducer Don Giovanni. In his Champagne Aria
, he sings “Let’s have some wine, and bring some girls along. Once they’ve had enough to drink, I’ll have my fun.” Drinking and licentiousness seem to be of all time – and Mozart didn't shy away from it.
BLUMKA GALLERY NEW YORK
Master I.C. (probably Jean de Court)
Ewer with the Bacchanal and Procession of Sea Gods
Grisaille and camaïeu enamels
H. 27 cm, D. 11 cm
3rd quarter of the 16th century
Giordano's Moses and the serpent
When a cornett – a 16th-century flute – was played on our television programme Podium Witteman
, someone on Twitter wondered if we had invited a snake charmer. The instrument does actually look a bit serpentine, and its sound is certainly charming. Italian composer Giovanni Gabrieli wrote glorious music for this instrument. (This music could be heard around 1600 in St Mark's Basilica in Venice, where the various balconies gave the music a stereo effect.)
GIACOMETTI OLD MASTER PAINTINGS ROME
Luca Giordano (1634 – 1705)
Moses and the Brazen Serpent
Oil on canvas
181 x 301 cm
1656 - 1657
As far as style, location and theme go, this weapon case goes perfectly with the well-known opera Carmen
by Georges Bizet: Spanish temperament, dangerous men and seductive women. The ‘Toreador’ Song describes soldiers and bullfighting with great machismo and bravado, using pretty packaging to make violence appear elegant – just like with this weapon case.
PETER FINER LONDON
Eusebio Zuloaga (1808-1898)
A Historic Pair of Cased Spanish Percussion Presentation Pistols
Steel, gold, ebony, ormolu, gilt-brass, white metal, copper, bone, watered silk, velvet
11 x 64 x 45 cm
I’m a big fan of Beethoven, and he played a considerable role in the development of the piano. It was partly thanks to Beethoven that the instrument came to be constructed with more octaves, greater volume and more dynamic range (hard and soft, or forte
). Beethoven ‘needed’ this for his music – many a piano gave way under his hands. In the Appassionata
, one of his most famous sonatas, you can hear him pushing the boundaries of what the piano was capable of in his days.
JEAN MICHEL RENARD FONTENILLE
Galatea and Pygmalion
Grand vertical piano
Oak, spruce, ebony, ivory, iron and brass
260 x 166 x 61 cm
1873 – 1875
Ovid's tale of Galatea and Pygmalion has often been set to music as well, such as by French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). It is in the opening aria of his short opera ballet Pygmalion
that Pygmalion sings of his woes. He had always avoided love; why must it strike with an impossible crush on his own work of art of all things? ‘Fatal Amour, cruel vainqueur’
, fatal love, cruel conqueror!
BERKO FINE PAINTINGS KNOKKE-HEIST
Robert Cutler Hinckley (1853 - 1941)
Pygmalion and Galatea
Oil on canvas
259 x 132 cm
As a chief would use this rattle with the shaman during ceremonies, so do today's conductors wave their baton during musical ceremonies. Predecessors of modern conductors used a staff to beat time in pieces of music. French composer Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) paid for that with his life. During a performance, he was banging his staff so violently against the floor that he cleaved his own toe. The wound became infected, and two months later Lully died of complications.
POLAK WORKS OF ART AMSTERDAM
A chief’s ceremonial raven rattle
Paint on wood
H. 30 cm
Fabergé walking cane
The French composer Erik Satie (1866-1925) lived in a pigsty, but outside the home he was a consummate dandy: he never went out without a top hat, brolly and …walking stick. This specimen would have suited him well. My favourite piece by Satie is the tender Petite ouverture à danser
performed by Reinbert de Leeuw.
GALERIE DELALANDE PARIS
Workmaster Erik Kollin (1836 – 1901) under Peter Carl Fabergé (1846 – 1920)
Malacca wood, nephrite handle, ring in gold, with leather case
H. 94 cm
1899 – 1908
The American Cole Porter (1891-1964) was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but surprisingly enough he choose the profession par excellence of the down-and-out: that of a composer. But then with wild parties and a sumptuous life – Porter was ‘ridin’ high’. Just as lavish as this necklace that Porter gave to his wife.
SIEGELSON NEW YORK
Designed by Fulco di Verdura (1898 – 1978) and made by Paul Flato (1900 – 1999)
Cole Porter Necklace
Aquamarine and ruby necklace
D. 39 cm
This painting made me think of Alma Mahler (1879-1964), the wife of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). She herself was a composer, but after she married Gustav, he discouraged her from composing any longer. The two artists had a disastrous relationship, just like between Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso. In Alma’s Licht in der Nacht
(Light in the Night), I recognise the same kind of alienation as in this portrait.
BRAME & LORENCEAU PARIS
Dora Maar (1907 – 1997)
Portrait de profil au chpaeu bleu
Pastel and gouache on paper
80 x 69 cm
I'm struck by the two young women in this painting, depicted in the prime of their youth. There is something innocent and, at the same time, melancholic about it. Hungarian composer Béla Bartók (1881-1945) wrote simple yet wonderful pieces, specially meant to teach children how to play the piano. The same kind of childlike sadness can be heard in piece 26 of that cycle.
HAMMER GALERIES NEW YORK
Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954)
La lecture (deux fillettes, bouquet de pivoines sur fond noir)
Oil on canvas
46 x 55 cm
There is something hallucinatory about this painting. It made me think of the Symphonie fantastique
by Hector Berlioz, who was an habitual opium user. In the fourth part of this symphony, he sets the hallucinations of an artist on opium to music. Quite a trip, from the sound of it.
TORNABUONI ARTE FLORENCE
Giorgio de Chirico (1888 – 1978)
The Farewell of a Friend Who is Leaving to the Friend Who is Staying
Oil on canvas
40 x 50 cm
A rather brash work – really in your face. It reminds me of Jacob ter Veldhuis (a.k.a. Jacob TV), who lives in the US. He uses fragments from television programmes as sound bites in his music. A nice link to Wesselman's cut-outs. The obsession with beauty and outward appearance also forms the basis of Body of Your Dreams
, where hysterical excerpts from Tell-Sell
commercials are stuck together.
ALMINE RECH NEW YORK
Tom Wesselmann (1931 - 2004)
Oil on canvas
131 x 191 cm
1967 - 1968
I think this painting is fantastic. It immediately made me think of post-war minimal music, with its pulse, flow and endless repetition with small variations each time. Music for 18 Musicians
by Steve Reich is the perfect soundtrack for this painting: angular, pointed and rhythmic. As if you were looking at a busy intersection from above.
Joseph Ongenae (1921 – 1993)
Oil on board
175 x 175 cm
Avant-garde composer Edgar Varèse (1883-1965) would have been able to appreciate this piece, I believe. Varèse created very futuristic music. He wrote Ionisation
especially for percussionists. You hear the explosion, the metal, the noise. The music sounds like carefully constructed chaos. There is no melody to it, only rhythm: music reduced to organised sound.
GALERIE KARSTEN GREVE ST. MORITZ
John Chamberlain (1927 – 2011)
Painted and chromium plated steel
269 x 183 x 140 cm
Barry X Ball
I would like to intensify the purity and sacred character of this sculpture with Claudio Monteverdi's (1567-1643) Vespers
, of which I'm a big fan. The singing is angelic: hallowed, devout and, at the same time, in contrast with the here and now of this sculpture. The male voices encircle this veiled woman like a kind of aura.
FERGUS MCCAFFREY NEW YORK
Barry X Ball (b. 1955)
Iranian onyx, stainless steel
175 x 42 x 31 cm
2008 – 2018
© Barry X Ball; Courtesy of Barry X Ball and Fergus McCaffrey
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