Knowing Beethoven took much of his inspiration from forms in nature and in particular in bird's songs, I decided to base my piece off of these concepts. I mainly kept the second movement of the Seventh in mind (Allegretto), and found inspiration in the dancing quality of the movement. I therefore created a courting ritual based in nature inspired by Beethoven's Seventh.
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My artwork illustrating Beethoven's 7th symphony is meant to symbolize rebirth. Because this piece of music was created to be a source of encouragement and inspiration for the Viennese people after being under the rule of Napoleon, I wanted to really showcase themes of beauty and growth. While I was inspired by the overwhelming sound of joy, I also recognized the undertones of grief in the music, which I represented with the black details around the eyes of the woman in my piece- yet the flowers still bloom from her grief.
As I listened to Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 images of cascading water and energy filled my head. I used this idea to form sketches that had to do with the idea of cascading ideas turning into music. I used brights colors to show the intensity of the sound.
Beethoven's seventh is often described as a dance symphony, and I thought dance was a wonderful vehicle to express my feelings about the music. Dancing is both timeless and universal, qualities that struck me about the symphony itself. I created an image of different points of time and space connecting through dance.
The inspiration for my interpretation of Beethoven’s seventh Symphony came from a quote by Thomas Beecham on the third movement of the Symphony: “What can you do with it? It’s like a lot of yaks jumping about.” After reading this I could not get the idea of yaks out of my head, so I decided to use it as a starting point for my piece.
When listening to Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, I was moved by the piece's fluid movement and rapid ups and downs. The second movement reminded me of the ocean. While listening, images of smooth rolling tides and giant crashing waves filled my mind. Its unpredictability was that of a storm. In the midst of my research on Beethoven himself, I found a quote that inspired my image further: "Tones sound, and roar, and storm about me until I have to set them down into notes.
Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony premiered at a charity benefit for Bavarian soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau in 1813. The Battle of Hanau was a minor victory for Napoleon, giving him breathing room enough to retreat back to France. This painting is my way of doing what Beethoven did: commemorating the battle of Hanau.
The 7th symphony is uniquely mysterious, presented with little context and no provided information on the intended meaning. Ultimately, after considering the historical context and the possibility of a biographical element, it seemed most appropriate to let the piece speak for itself and let the imagery come to me organically. This is my personal interpretation of the first movement.
Medium: watercolour, coloured pencil, acrylic