My Favourite Painting: Sir Karl Jenkins

The composer Sir Karl Jenkins chooses an Italian painting which came to him in to his life in fascinating circumstances.

Sir Karl Jenkins on his choice of ‘Interno Teoretico’ by Andrea Vizzini

‘Late one evening in 1997, walking with my wife, Carol, across a dark and deserted St Mark’s Square in Venice, I saw in the distance what seemed to be a painting, lit like a beacon, drawing me inexorably to the window of what transpired to be an art dealer- ship, Galleria Ravagnan. It made a deep impression on us and my wife remarked that the painting looked like my music sounded.

‘We returned the next day, bought the painting and began a firm friendship with gallerist Luciano Ravagnan, who sadly died a few years ago. Interno Teoretico is by the eminent artist Andrea Vizzini. Originally from Sicily, he works and lives near Venice, in Jesolo.

‘On a return visit, we met him, only to discover that he, not knowing who had bought his painting, had been working listening to my music. His work reflects the ethos of mine; of today, but with a strong traditional core that emotionally connects with people. Galleria Ravagnan remains in the family and Andrea is still working, as am I.’

Sir Karl Jenkins is one of the world’s most performed living composers; his latest concert tour starts in March 2024. He turned 80 on February 17.

Charlotte Mullins comments on Interno Teoretico by Andrea Vizzini

A pitch-perfect sunset illuminates an open expanse of water and a broad promenade. Small spheres and a pyramid dot the surface, their shadows extending this way and that as if created by wildly different light sources. This mixed-media painting brings to mind the metaphysical shadow-world of Giorgio de Chirico and the hyper-realistic architectonics of Salvador Dalí. But Interno Teoretico (Theoretical Interior) is by the Italian painter Andrea Vizzini, who has spent his long career interrogating art history through an increasingly surreal lens. (He also cites M. C. Escher as an inspiration.)

Since the 1970s, Mr Vizzini has appropriated art-historical masterpieces and questioned the gaze of those who look upon them in his own work. On the angular wall that partially blocks our view in Interno Teoretico is a fragmentary copy of Jan Brueghel the Younger’s The Allegory of Hearing. A near-naked woman sits by a pool strumming a lute above a landscape where a silvered river meanders towards the sea. The painting appears to be disintegrating, flaking off the stucco like a Pompeiian fresco.

In other paintings, Mr Vizzini reproduces scenes by Titian and Tiepolo, the Venetian masters of colour and form. He has lived and worked near Venice for many years and the city sometimes appears like a mirage on the horizon. He also paints cloches over public sculptures or rescales works such as Michelangelo’s David, always experimenting with the relationship between art and its architectural presentation, peppering the surface with his signature geometrical shapes.

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