Thota Tharrani’s love for Western classical music shines forth in ‘Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons’

For Thota Tharrani, art always embraces drama, be it in cinema or in the art gallery. Showcasing his recent works, ‘Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons’ is the logical continuation of his ‘Symphony’ series, which saw its beginnings in the late 1970s.

Tharrani had experienced the grandeur of Western classical music while on a printmaking scholarship at Atelier-17 in Paris in 1977. He was so enamoured with it that he attempted to learn the violin for a while. Although he did not succeed in the endeavour, he managed to sustain a passion for the music and translate it into another art form, namely the visual.

Earlier exhibitions have seen him attempt to visualise some celebrated works of Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt and Tchaikovsky among others.

Here, Antonio Vivaldi’s celebrated ‘Le quattro stagioni’, commonly known as the Four Seasons, a set of four violin concertos composed in 1723, comes to life.

Nature and music may be illustrated through so many colours — through the vibrancy of shrill pink and scarlet, the sophistication of black, grey, white and royal purple and the sombre elegance of brown, ochre and yellow. All these colours are loosely, but deftly, bound together with lines of red, black, gold or blue.

While the earlier renditions of the ‘Symphony’ series had elements such as numbers and checkerboard patterns, this time, Tharrani has limited his expression to line and colour. His paintings may be seen as related to the abstraction of Vasily Kandinsky’s ‘compositions’ and yet, at the same time, different, in that here, line is controlled, and to a strong measure practised.

Textured work

His employment of the abstract expressionist style of painting to visually communicate the feel of Italian baroque classical music is pertinent. The many-hued textured background of the canvas takes on sweepingly bold lines that are perfectly manoeuvred, metaphorically alluding to every musical note being in place.

Colours embody the changing seasons, with the shimmer of metallic colours resonating the piquant notes of the violin. The iridescent acrylic paints are blended with gel to achieve a glossy surface.

The movements in allegro are mirrored in the quick spontaneity of the lines, while changes in pace reverberate through the paintings with staccato notes expressed by short, choppy lines.

The texture of baroque music is present in every canvas where Tharrani has created a visual expression of the aural experience, a musical master piece translated into a painterly composition. He works on many canvases simultaneously, creating his paintings while listening to the violin concertos, so that his muse enters every frame.

Tharrani simply states that what he paints is indeed “an impression of what I hear in the music.”

The paintings are on show at Forum Art Gallery, V Street, Padmanabha Nagar, Adyar until December 27.