pop culture

The Ecstasy of St. Robert Plant

While commuting to work this morning, I listened to Led Zeppelin’s “Mothership” album in anticipation for my lecture on Baroque art. But there’s no similarity between those two things, you say? I beg to differ:

Bernini, detail of The Ecstasy of St. Theresa (1647-52)
Of course, the “ecstasy” that may have influenced Robert Plant would have been much different from the ecstasy of St. Theresa…

Picasso and Paul McCartney

Pablo Picasso, The Old Guitarist, 1903
Did you know that a Picasso painting helped to inspire a Paul McCartney song? Today my little brother sent me this short clip of Paul explaining when/where/why he came up with the idea for the “Two Fingers” song:
I’m pretty sure, though, that Picasso didn’t have a specific chord in mind when he painted The Old Guitarist. In fact, it has already been discussed how Picasso’s lack of musical training is evident in his other depictions of musicians (for example, instances in which violinists hold their instruments with the wrong hand, as is seen in his Three Musicians (1921, PMA version)). Nonetheless, it’s fun to know that Picasso had a little influence on Paul.

The Beatles and Visual Art

Imagine: If John Lennon was still alive, then today would be his 70th birthday. As a tribute to one of the greatest musicians of all time, I thought I would post a rare self-portrait of Lennon (shown left). This portrait (which is listed here by Cooper Owen) was created by Lennon in 1958 for a school assignment. I really like it, mostly because I think the visual style mimics a lot of John’s future interests in music: distortion, strong contrasts, and asymmetrical compositions.

I love when musicians dabble in the visual arts. Being married to both a musician and an artist, I understand that creative minds sometimes need multiple types of outlets for their creativity. Paul McCartney (who is my favorite Beatle – I’ve seen him perform twice!), is also an artist. You can see several of his paintings on this site (which includes information from a catalog of McCartney’s 1999 exhibition in Germany). I really like Paul’s style as well. One of my favorite paintings by him is Yellow Linda with Piano (1988, shown below).

Ringo Starr also has hopped onto the artistic bandwagon, although I think that his art is absolutely ridiculous. Sorry, Ringo, but it looks like you’re just playing around with the “Paint” application. (Which I don’t think is very far from the truth – Ringo mentions that he began to make computer art when he was on tour in the late 1990s.) Anyhow, you can see some of Ringo’s art on his official art website and form your own opinion.

As for George Harrison, it doesn’t seem like he took much interest in the visual arts. But hey, George can make the decorative arts rock out like no one else can (as we can see in his totally awesome music video “I Got My Mind Set on You”), so hey, that definitely counts for something.

Do you know of other pop musicians who create visual art?


Voldemort’s Cousin?

I don’t have any profound thoughts tonight folks – just something I found a little humorous. The other day I had a good chuckle when I realized that the Human Figure from Ain Ghazal (6500 BCE, shown above) looks a lot like Voldemort. Do you think Ralph Fiennes’ makeup designer was inspired by art from the ancient Near East?


The "LOST" Supper

Aside from the basic composition, I can’t find enough art historical references to justify a full-fledged comparison between this photo and da Vinci’s Last Supper. But I think some art history/pop culture savants might like to engage in some discussion, so I’ve posted a little about the photo on a “LOST” blog that I share with friends (see here). Feel free to take a gander.

Thanks for sending me this photo, Todd! It made my day. And if anyone does find some strong connections between the “LOST Supper” and da Vinci’s Last Supper, please comment. I’d love to know your ideas.

— 1 Comment

Email Subscription



This blog focuses on making Western art history accessible and interesting to all types of audiences: art historians, students, and anyone else who is curious about art. Alberti’s Window is maintained by Monica Bowen, an art historian and professor.