Today’s post comes from Emily MacLeod, Class of 2012 and Art Center Student Docent.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Glass, Guitar, Musical Score, winter 1922-23, oil and sand on canvas, Gift of Virginia Herrick Deknatel, class of 1929, in honor of Frances Daly Fergusson, president of Vassar College

At the opening of Mapping Gothic France, the newest exhibition at the museum, visitors were treated to medieval choral music from the Vassar Camerata, a student-run early music ensemble. The exhibition transposes cathedral architecture onto the existing structure of the Art Center. The music provided another method of shifting space and time, the chords transporting the audience back in time, surrounded on all sides by images of the past.

Notes on Art, a special program series unfolding throughout April, continues this wonderful collaboration between the visual and the aural. This past Thursday afternoon, students from Vassar’s chamber music program set up a brief residence in our modern art gallery. The strains of Jadin, Schubert, and Verdi that filled the space resonated beautifully with the emotive colors of the paintings on the walls, despite predating them by as much as a hundred years. Eduardo Navega, director of the chamber music program, introduced each piece, providing interesting historical context for each one, particularly regarding the artist’s process. Verdi, for example, composed the String Quartet in E Minor in a hotel while waiting for the star of the opera he was supposed to be rehearsing to recover from illness. If only we all could waste time in such productive ways!

There are two upcoming opportunities to experience Notes on Art: Thursday, April 12th, and Thursday, April 19th, at 12:00pm. Each program lasts about forty-five minutes and takes place in the Art Center galleries. Next week will feature performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Gaubert. The final program will consist of Schumann, Brahms, and Vaughan Williams.

The pairing of music and art can make both mediums spring to life in different ways. I can’t see Picasso, for instance, without hearing the jazz of a Paris nightclub. Is there an artwork that you associate with a song or a particular kind of music?