‘A Portrait of Bartolomeo Savona’


The first thing that struck me about ‘A Portrait of Bartolomeo Savona’ by André Derain was his use of colour. It stands out and contrasts the other paintings around it. I was immediately drawn to it.

Derain, Andre, 1880-1954; Bartolomeo Savona
Derain, Andre; Bartolomeo Savona; The Barber Institute of Fine Arts; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/bartolomeo-savona-33009

Looking into the historical background of the piece, I was intrigued to find out that André Derain painted it in three 20-minute sittings, and gave it to Savona as a gift for acting as his translator while Derain was in London. Derain seems to have harboured great affection for Savona, and obviously considered him a close friend. When compared to an actual photograph of Savona, the painting is really quite difference, and as a result I think the painting more exemplifies Derain’s emotional connection to Savona, as opposed to acting as a physical snapshot of him.

With Henri Matisse, Derain was one of the forefathers of Fauvism, and this painting definitely exemplifies the ‘wild beast’ connotations which were associated with Fauvism. Like I said, it stands out; it’s brash, loud and unapologetic. I think this is really effective and it’s certainly a part of its appeal. Within my final composition I’ve explored lots of colourful sounds and sounds which move and sound exciting – there’s an example from the last section of my finished piece below!

Having now finished my composition, I can say that I have found the experience of writing a piece or programmatic music to be fulfilling and rewarding, and it’s definitely something which I feel I’ll want to undertake again in the future.

William James 4th year