Artists And Musicians
  • Sappho — In The Parnassus of Raphael

    Saphho was small and dark, yet in his famous rendering of her, Raphael made her blond and fleshy.

    Richard Wagner wore pink underwear and was about five feet tall.

    Gauguin fathered at least four illegitimate children in Tahiti — this in addition to the legitimate clan he abandoned back home.

    Beethoven, Brahms, Gluck, Haydn, Mahler, Mozart, Salieri, Schubert, Strauss, Vivaldi, Wolf, Bruckner, Berg — all died in Vienna.

    White does not exist in nature. Said Renoir.

    Haydn’s face was pitted from smallpox.

    Mozart’s face was pitted from smallpox.

    Gluck’s face was pitted from smallpox.

    I have wasted my life. Said Leonardo Da Vinci, at the end of his life.

    At age twenty, Franz Liszt wrote:

    My mind and fingers have worked like the damned. Homer, the Bible, Plato, Locke, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, Beethoven, Bach, Hummel, Mozart, Weber are all around me. I study them, I devour them with fury.

    While the angels may play only Bach in praising God, among themselves they play Mozart. Said Karl Barth.

    Said Dvorak to Sibelius: “I have composed too much.”

    Said Brahms to Dvorak: “You do write a bit hastily.”

    In the sixth century, there was a persistent legend that Saint Luke The Physician was a painter — and that he had painted a portrait of the Virgin Mary.

    Tartini’s violin shattered in its case at his death.

    Brahms insisted on wearing his pants high-water, often taking a pair of scissors to the bottoms.

    Hey, Brahms: where’s the flood?

    Parisian brothels: the only place where one’s shoes were ever properly shined. Wrote Toulouse-Lautrec.

    Handel died blind.

    Liszt sat down and played at sight what the rest of us toil over and in the end still get nowhere with, Clara. Said Schumann to his wife.

    August Strindberg was illegitimate.

    Thelonius Monk died of stroke.

    Charles Mingus died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    Photography is not art. Said David Markson, via his anonymous alter-ego.

    Richard Strauss to Paul Hindemith: “Why do you have to write this way? You have talent.”

    Paul Hindemith to Richard Strauss: “Herr Professor, you make your music and I’ll make mine.”

    Valazquez was categorically dismissive of Raphael as a painter.

    Valazquez — thé painter’s painter (c’est le peintre des peintres). Said Manet, who died of tertiary syphilis.

    John Singer Sargent died reading Voltaire.

    Billie Holiday died of a kidney infection after years of protracted heroin abuse.

    Mozart was addicted to billiards.

    Jackson Pollock was devoted to the craft of baking pies.

    No one ever put up a statue of a critic. Said Sibelius.

    Thomas Sterns Eliot: the only critic you could erect a statue to. Said Karl Shapiro of T.S. Eliot, for whom Shapiro did not particularly care.

    “A presumptuous mediocrity,” Tchaikovsky described Brahms as.

    No one knows what Vivaldi actually died of, though in 1741 the Vienna church registry listed cause of death: “internal fire.”

    “A sort of God of painting,” Matisse described Cezanne as.

    The only difference between myself and a madman is that I am not mad.

    Said Salvador Dali.

    “Girl Standing At The Window,” by Salvador (“Madman”) Dali


    I only know that summer sang in me
    A little while, and that in me sings no more.

    Wrote America’s greatest sonneteer, Ms. Edna St. Vincent Millay.


About The Author

Ray Harvey

I was born and raised in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. I've worked as a short-order cook, construction laborer, crab fisherman, janitor, bartender, pedi-cab driver, copyeditor, and more. I've written and ghostwritten several published books and articles, but no matter where I've gone or what I've done to earn my living, there's always been literature and learning at the core of my life.

2 Responses and Counting...

  • Averil Dean 02.23.2012

    “Parisian brothels. The only place where one’s shoes were ever properly shined.”

    Clearly I’ve missed a trick, somewhere along the line.

  • Missed a trick!

    My dear Ms. Dean, you’re very clever. And very quick.

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