Friday, April 2, 2021

the last book I ever read (Gluck: Her Biography by Diana Souhami, excerpt five)

from Gluck: Her Biography by Diana Souhami:

‘Medallion’ is a portrait of Gluck in love with Nesta Obermer. She went with Nesta to Fritz Busch’s production of Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ at Glyndebourne on 23 June 1936. They sat in the third row and she felt the intensity of the music fused them into one person and matched their love. She called ‘Medallion’ the ‘YouWe’ picture and it stood in her studio in Bolton House while she worked on other paintings for her 1937 exhibition. The gaze of aspiration and direction and the determined jaws have something of the feel of socialist revolutionary art. Nesta’s fair hair forms a halo around Gluck’s dark head. There is no ‘setting.’ To describe it Gluck took a quote from Coleridge’s Kubla Khan:

And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise.

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