Art and Music: Vallotton and Eno

A different kind of blogpost today, not clothes in books but art and music.


I recently went to see the exhibition of Felix Vallotton paintings at the Royal Academy in London: he’s a painter who has been on my radar for a long long time, mostly because a little postcard of one of his paintings has hung over every desk I have had for the past 30 years. It is this: Private Conversation.

Sadly, it is not part of the RA exhibit, though very many other utterly wonderful pictures were. But I have been staring at it even more than usual since my trip. I love looking at this couple, and wondering what they are saying to each other. But I am also convinced that they are slow dancing with each other, and I suddenly realized that I have for a long time heard the same piece of music in my head when looking at them: Another Green World by Brian Eno. (It’s the Arena theme music for anyone who used to watch the BBC arts programme)

Please press play on the YouTube clip embedded above, and gaze. A perfect fit, no?

And now I am seized with the idea of finding the perfect music for pictures, so will be trying to match up some other favourites. But also would love to hear other people’s ideas.

What is playing on the Bluetooth speaker for Manet’s Dejeuner Sur l'Herbe?

Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe

What is making Pope Innocent look exactly like that?

Image result for velazquez pope

Is it The Lion Sleeps Tonight for Rousseau’s beautiful tiger? (Yes I know lions and tigers don’t live in the same places, but the music could co-exist).

 What is coming over the earphones of Velasquez as he paints himself into las Meninas?
Las Meninas, by Diego Velázquez, from Prado in Google Earth.jpg

I need the music for Whistlejacket:

Image result for whistlejacket

And for Mr and Mrs Andrews...
Image result for Mr and Mrs Andrews

And WHO gets Erik Satie's Gymnopaedies?
Is it the boy from Seurat...?

And what is Manet's barmaid hearing?
Image result for at the bar of the folies bergere

And what's the soundtrack to Renoir's boating party?

Luncheon of the Boating Party

Bring them on....

With thanks to Wendy, best company at the RA exhibiton, and who will be expected to come up with some suggestions.


  1. Oh, I love the idea of matching music to paintings like that, Moira! That's something I'll have to contemplate, rather than put out answers right now... At any rate, I'm very glad you were able to see that exhibit; it must have been fabulous. I know just what you mean, too, about looking at a painting or print, and wondering about it. I've done that, too.

    1. I think it's a mixture of some picture/music pairings shouting out to you, and others taking considerable thought. Tell me when you come up with something - I know it'll be great.

  2. I just commented and my comment vanished so I hope this doesn't show up twice - but try looking at Pope Innocent while playing Kelis 'My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard'
    Also, I think Whistlejacket wants something bombastic - the start of Beethoven's Fifth maybe.
    And I can see Manet's barmaid listening to a bit of Tame Impala.

    1. I'm so glad you didn't lose your comment because that made me spit out my coffee laughing! (good thing it wasn't a milkshake... ) Pope Innocent is one of my favourite pictures of all time, an now I will never see him without thinking he is getting ready to come to the Yard. I put it on Twitter to others' great enjoyment.
      And excellent other suggestions too.

  3. Brilliant idea! Takes a lot of thinking about, though.

    1. Yes it does - but do tell me if you come up with something good!


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