Summary: I’ve always enjoyed listening to Frederic Chopin’s music while doing art, so I decided I owed him a portrait in tribute to all the inspiration he has provided me. However, when I started to do some research on existing portraits (as well as 2 very old photographs!) I was confronted with an artist anomaly: Chopin looks strikingly different from one portrait to the next. Due to the almost constant illness he suffered from in life, there are somewhat dramatic differences in his facial features depending on who created the portrait, as well as the year it was created. Thus, I chose to make my portrait based on 2 specific sources that shared the look I wanted to pursue: Ary Scheffer’s portrait of Chopin from 1847, and a daguerrotype photograph taken by Louis-Auguste Bisson a few months before Chopin’s death.
In the top of the painting, I transcribed a few measures of Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in Bb minor, also known as the “Funeral March.” To the right of Chopin, I depicted the sculpture of the muse of music, Euterpe, who sits atop Chopin’s tomb in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Chopin was seemingly obsessed with death throughout his very short life and I wanted to convey that in a beautiful, yet tragic way, given that is how I would describe the tone of Chopin’s compositions.
This painting was one of a select few that I completed at the art studio I temporarily leased in downtown Columbus, Ohio.