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Wednesday, December 30

When nights were candlelit, photographs were paintings, and the music was divine

Juancitoamericano, who calls himself "A happy dreamer," has put together a gallery of paintings showing German country life in the 18th Century as his way to celebrate Johann Sebastian Bach's Double Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C minor. The paintings accompanying the 13 minute recital first depict outdoor scenes then give an intimate look at people living out their lives in drawing rooms, studies, and kitchens. 

There is one painting of a young woman turning to look at the painter -- I almost wrote "the camera" -- that is startling because she's so, well, alive. The young woman seems caught unawares and while polite about the interruption is clearly not happy about it. And so for a moment one is there, in her time, murmuring 'Sorry' about the intrusion to her personal life. Extraordinary painting, or maybe a great painting of an extraordinary character.    

It's at the 8:17 minute mark.  (Clicking on the title will take you to the YouTube site where you can view the paintings in the larger 'theater' mode.')

The paintings made indoors during daytime of course use only natural light from windows; I've seen other paintings of that era but this was the first time I was keenly aware of what an adjustment it was for my eyes, especially because they didn't seem to have picture windows in those days.  I thought, 'Too dark' about several of the paintings then I realized -- duh, this is the way the indoor daytime world looked for centuries. After a time of studying those paintings, it struck me the muted lighting was restful. Were people calmer in those days, I wonder.  Listening to Bach, I think so.    
Thank you to Juancitoamericano for the great care with which he chose and assembled the gallery and, as the concerto builds, the way he gave the presentation of the paintings a rhythm that brings the viewer even closer.  

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