The Musician after the Descent

This is the final picture, with the guitar strings and the frets etc. painted. I’m really loving this project of painting a response to the Greek Myths. I was a Greek student in college and have had the enduring intention of incorporating that love into creative work. My central interest has always been the Trojan War and I spent years researching a novel and writing 30 chapters of novel with the Trojan War as its theme — who knows when I will have time to get back to it! — but in the meantime I’m able to have fun with these literary allusions in modern dress. (See my posting of May 2, for the exact reference to the Orpheus Myth portrayed in this picture.) I’m in the process of doing a larger painting in response to Orpheus and Euridice “before the descent,” which I will blog in progress soon.

In the meantime, here’s a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke (who wrote a number of poems about the Greek Myths as well). I think it applies well to this painting.


How am I to contain my spirit lest
It touch on yours? How lift it through a space
Higher than you to things environing?
Oh, I should gladly lay it by to rest
In darkness with some long-forgotten thing
At some outlandish unresounding place
Which won’t re-echo your deep echoing.
But all that touches you and me comes so,
It takes us jointly like a stroking blow
That draws one voice from two strings by its tilt.
Upon what instrument then are we strung?
And by the hands of what musician wrung!
Ah, sweet the lilt.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Orpheus After the Descent, Oil on Canvas, 18×18, $900 USD

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