MondayMusicThe Artful Advocate

Monday Mood: Art online to expand your mind. By Eliza

Good evening to you all!

At the beginning of this month, museums and art galleries across the UK were bracing themselves for further uncertainty and the dreaded news was announced when further stringent restrictions were imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

I cannot wait until the art galleries and museums open again. An exhibition provides an insight into the mind of the artist which, in turn, captures the imagination of the viewer. Viewing a display of artwork or a collection of artifacts is a mind-expanding experience. I am devastated that the long-term future of the arts and cultural heritage have been severely affected as a result. Hopefully, the situation will vastly change next year.

And talking of next year, there is one exhibition I will certainly be visiting. A magnificent three-metre-wide painting of the 16th century astronomer Copernicus will be displayed in the UK for the first time at the National Gallery from March until June. The painting, by a 19th century artist Jan Matejko (1838-1893), is virtually unknown outside his native country of Poland. He is notable for his paintings of Polish political and military events. The display is free to attend.

Whilst we wait in anticipation of art galleries and museums reopening to the public, in the meantime, and as an alternative, art lovers can view thousands of paintings, sculptures and installations online and many in minute detail, as well as explore the museums themselves with voiceover descriptions and slideshows.

So, below I have provided links to some online world virtual tours for your viewing.

The National Gallery, London

The National History Museum, London

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

For your #MondayMood artistic earworm this week, I have an eclectic mix of classical, ballads and rock music.

Pictures at an Exhibition is a suite of ten pieces composed for the piano by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky in 1874. You may be familiar with this composition, which was used as the theme tune to the political satire British sitcom series ‘The New Statesman’.

The next song really needs no introduction. ‘Mona Lisa’ is a piano ballad about the beauty of a woman and the beauty of love, sung by Nat King Cole. He describes his appreciation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, best known for her mysterious smile.

‘Vincent’ is a tribute to the 19th century Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. McLean was inspired to write his famous song after reading a biography of the post-impressionist artist and upon viewing of Van Gogh’s well-known painting, ‘The Starry Night’ (1889). The song opens with a description of the celebrated painting…

“Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and grey
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul”

‘Artists Only’, first released in 1978, refers to the band’s love of contemporary art. Lyricist David Byrne wrote this song as his take-on of his theory of art and refers to the transfer of one’s ideas to a painting, although the song can be interpreted as a light-hearted criticism of the pretentiousness of some free-spirited artists. Nevertheless, art unleashes creative energy and becomes an object to admire. “I’m painting. I’m painting again!” Byrne writes.


Until next time.
Eliza x

Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition (1874)

Nat King Cole – Mona Lisa (1950)

Don McLean – Vincent (1971)

Talking Heads – Artists Only (1978)