The painting of music - the music of painting; the relationship between music and painting with special reference to Kupka and personal practice
Dr R Paton (external supervisor)
Prof B Nieland (external supervisor)
"One seeing is worth a hundred listenings".
The above quote puts succinctly my original intention for the painting which forms the practical part of the research. My inability to hear separate layers of sound simultaneously, prompted me to develop an appropriate and meaningful visual language which could clearly differentiate separate instrumental parts in a given score of polyphonic music, in order to assist in hearing them in unison in varying degrees.
This thesis seeks to examine, through a combination of practical and theoretical research, some of the chief consequences of the point of view asserted by Walter Pater in his 1877 essay on the School of Giorgione that 'all art aspires to the condition of music'. Both aspects are based on the postulate that it is indeed fruitful to consider to what extent, or if, relationships can be posited between the practices of painting and music.
The personal work consists of a painted frieze with music by J.S. Bach as the stimulus for the subject matter. The written part initially establishes a broad historical overview of key issues concerning the relationship of the visual language of painting to that of music.
Subsequently related sketches and studies by Frantisek Kupka, which resulted in the first purely abstract painting to be recorded as being exhibited in Paris in 1912, are analysed and arranged in order to clarify the thinking and stylistic development behind his creative process. These are placed within their historical context and are seen to reflect the general artistic concerns and technological developments that affected practising artists of the day.
Examination of further examples of paintings by Duncan Grant and Paul Klee serve as an appropriate link to an investigation of my own practical work.
Key aspects of my intentions and achievements, and arguments for and against the validity of the overarching idea of the thesis i.e. that it is possible to posit the sort of relationships between the language of music and painting that can withstand thorough analysis, form the basis of the critical analysis and annotations. The thesis will be produced in conjunction with an exhibition of the practical work.