Artists and Musicians – From the Beautiful to the Bizarre, the Near to the Far(out)
  • Diego Velazquez: the painter’s painter.

    The painter’s painter. Whistler called Velazquez.

    A sort of God of painting. Matisse described Cezanne as.

    Goethe at fourteen-years-old once heard Wolfgang Mozart (aged six) play the harpsichord: “The little man, with powdered wig and sword,” Goethe described him as.

    Luciano Pavarotti could not read music.

    David Bowie had a tattoo of a lizard on his ankle.

    Haydn and Beethoven each nominated Handel as the greatest of composers.

    Whereas Berlioz called Handel a tub of pork and beer.


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

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

    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.

    The oldest artist ever to top the UK singles chart was Louis Armstrong. He was sixty-six-years old at the time, and his song was “What A Wonderful World.”

    Not a composer: a kleptomaniac. Stravinsky referred to Benjamin Britten as.

    Rudolph Kreutzer never performed the Kreutzer sonata.

    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.

    Verdi himself requested that his own funeral be conducted without music.

    Thelonius Monk died of stroke.

    Charles Mingus died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    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.

    T.S. — the only critic you could erect a statue to. Said Karl Shapiro.

    He alters and retouches the same phrases incessantly, and paces up and down like a madman. Said a pupil of Chopin.

    Little Saul Hudson

    Slash’s real name is Saul Hudson.

    When Joseph Haydn was seventy-six-years-old, Beethoven acknowledged his teacher by kneeling before him and kissing his hand.

    Gut strings for acoustic Spanish guitars were originally made from the small intestines of slaughtered sheep. The production material only changed to nylon during World War II, when all available gut was used in the production of surgical thread for wounded soldiers.

    Leo Fender, who invented the first mass-produced electric guitar, couldn’t play guitar.

    John Lennon’s first name for the Beatles was the Black Jacks. Then the Quarry Men. Then Johnny and the Moondogs.

    John Lennon was legally blind without his glasses.

    Pauline Viardot, who sang the first performance of Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody, may have had an illegitimate child by the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev.

    Leonard Cohen was an ordained Rinzai Buddhist monk.

    Leonard Cohen: Buddahist Monk

    Casals practiced Bach’s six suites for solo cello for twelve years before performing one in public.

    Harry Crosby shot himself in the head — after first shooting the young married woman with whom he was having an affair.

    “Maidservant gallantries,” Constanza Mozart accused Wolfgang of.

    On average, Beethoven changed addresses twice a year — and was more than once successfully sued for having scribbled musical notations all over his walls.

    Dave Brubeck studied with Darius Milhaud and with Arnold Schoenberg.

    Duke Ellington and Miles Davis are buried in the same Bronx cemetery.

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

    Said Salvador Dali.