De Sarasate and a Whistler

Arrangement in Black: Portrait of Señor Pablo de Sarasate, Whistler, 1884.  Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Arrangement in Black: Portrait of Señor Pablo de Sarasate, Whistler, 1884. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I’m a big fan of Whistler – over the years I’ve seen galleries of miniatures, of women, and of his distinctive draftsmanship.  I’ve also twice fawned over his Peacock Room at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery.  His work with composition and light and color and interesting subject matter are all eminently compelling.  Of course I’m not alone – he’s widely considered to be one of the greatest.

Pablo De Sarasate, violin virtuoso and composer, is also widely considered to be one of the greatest.  Recently, I was tickled to discover that the two have something else in common – an 1884 canvas housed at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.  De Sarasate played two Stradivari instruments – I do not know which is pictured in the portrait.  The museum’s notes on the work hint at a psychological tangent that reveals yet another similarity between the men, “Like Whistler, [De Sarasate] was a small man much taken with being the focus of public attention.”  Clearly, just as Napoleon could conquer Europe, Whistler could really paint, and De Sarasate could really write and make music.

I, too, am a small man.  And I write a blog.  Enough said – I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Thanks for reading.

Ryan

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