Louis Gallait - Power of Music (1852)
Charles Spencelayh - Failing Memories (1926)
For today's December Double I've selected 'Power of Music ' by Belgian painter Louis Gallant and 'Failing Memories' by English painter Charles Spencelayh. 'Music' depicts a romantic scene of a violinist having soothed a beautiful young woman into his lap, while 'Memories' carries a somber note, showing an old man seemingly lost in thought while holding his instrument in hand. Observing these two paintings together provides a wonderful juxaposition which amplifies the impact their respective subjects.
The artists' use of color and light effectively set the mood for each piece. Whereas 'Music' uses deep shadows and glimmers of sunlight to create a bold, idyllic scene, 'Memories' casts its elderly subject in a hard light, resulting in a more confrontational approach that commands our attention. Furthermore, 'Memories' contains less distractions, featuring not a beautiful mountain landscape such as in 'Music' but instead a stark rendering of the old man's room, with his personal possessions seen throughout, appealing on our sympathies. 'Memories' feels like a very personal portrait while 'Music' could be described as harboring broader ambitions. These works were executed with widely different goals in mind, so it would seem unfair to compare them critically, but nonetheless they do make for an intriguing pair.