Pictures at an Exhibition Cycle

Mussorgsky created his famous “Pictures at an Exhibition” in 1874 as a tribute to a recently deceased friend, the architect and artist Victor Hartmann. The word “Pictures “in Mussorgsky’s title refers to a Hartman painting exhibition, organized in his honour a year after his death. “Pictures at an Exhibition” musically illustrate a visit to this exhibition. It incorporates musical pieces representing ten of Hartmann’s images, with an additional Promenade theme representing the viewer walking from exhibit to exhibit. Most of the works that inspired the composer are lost, either yet undiscovered or destroyed.

In my “Pictures at an Exhibition” – I simply didn’t want to “remake” the originals, what I wanted was to create a new serie of pictures based on “Mussorgsky’s Pictures”. Mussorgsky’s music is incredibly visual, some movements are full of humour (Ballet of the Unhitched Chicks), others of despair (Bydlo, Old Castle), a few combine all range of emotions from frightening to comical (Gnome) and all are united by an incredible sense of movement. Though taking all the titles quite literary my aim was to recreate the atmosphere and mood of each movement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures into my paintings.

I like when a creative idea goes through a complete cycle: from abstract ideas to paintings, from paintings to music and from music back to paintings.

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