National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Annual Bulletin 5, 1981-1982

Annual Index
Author & Subject

Musical Iconography and Sketches 
in the National Gallery:
Street Musicians by Lillian Freiman and
Orchestra Sketch by Pegi Nicol

by Francine Sarrasin

Pages  1  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7


1 See Donald W. Buchanan, The Growth of Canadian Painting (London: Collins, 1950), p. 70.

2 One of the main contributions of the Russian school to violin playing is the vibrato (see note 5). In the Baroque era, the roundness of tone was achieved by the thrust and range produced by the drawn bow, rather than by the back - and - forth motion of the left hand. The appearance of the vibrato corresponds to the rise of musical nationalism in the nineteenth century, which, in Russia, was fed by folkloric elements and the music of the gypsies.

3 Pizzicato is a means of playing a stringed instrument by plucking the string with the finger instead of using the bow.

4 The violinists each express a certain side of the singer, and these are contrasted in the work. This is why we speak of a chiasmus.

5 Vibrato is the undulation of the pitch of a note caused by a controlled vibration of the left hand as the fingers touch the strings of a bowed instrument.

6 The attempt to identify the vocal register of the singer in the sketch struck ail experts consulted as a somewhat risky undertaking.

7 Buchanan, op. cit., pp. 67-69. Also, Graham McInnes, "Artist of the Wayward Brush," The Citizen (Ottawa), 14 February 1949.

8 See Charles C. Hill, Canadian Painting in the Thirties (Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1975), p. 95.

9 When the Impressionists and Degas painted orchestra musicians, they kept their distance and worked behind their easels. The slope of the orchestra pit and a downcast Dufy-like perspective call for a certain distance and situate the musicians within a professional set ting that is different from that of the painter.

10 Although the purpose of our study is not archivistic or purely historical, we find it practical to use the chronological signposts of Art Deco as a means of dating the work, which would place it somewhere around the 1930s.

11 Buchanan, op. cit., p. 68.

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