This bust of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, by sculptor Hugo Hagen (1892), is updated by the addition of large circumaural headphones. His stern expression combined with the presence of his noise cancelling gadget suggests his disapproval for modern life.
The artist proposes a few possible interpretations of the piece. One, that the wearing of headphones could be seen as a representation of the attempts to escape from the struggles of everyday life by literally blocking out the noise. Beethoven is one of the most prolific classical musicians in history and here the artist encourages us to consider the possibility that he may have found the unfamiliar synthetic music of today an offense to his ears.
Alternately, in this instance Beethoven could be viewed as a sympathic figure aligned with those who wear headphones to 'work from home’ and found that the novelty of new circumstances during the pandemic soon gave way to the need for real human interaction.
It is important to note the irony imbued in this work, as Beethoven lost the ability to hear at the age of 44. The creation of this piece also coincided with the 250 year anniversary of the composer's death.
The artist welcomes and encourages further interpretations of "Symphony 2020-Beethoven" and is always intrigued to hear a new take on the key themes of the piece.
TITLE: Symphony 2020-Beethoven
SIZE: 60cm x 60cm
MEDIUM: Oil paint on canvas