Inspired by the well known piece of music "Pictures at an Exhibition," by Modest Mussorgsky, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has joined with the Copley Society of Art to curate an exhibit of 32 new paintings throughout Symphony Hall during their spring 2013performances of the work.
In collaboration with BSO performances of the work April 12 and 13, the paintings were unveiled at a special reception in honor of the artists at Symphony Hall on March 6, and they will be on view there through April 13.
John Kirby of Boston Art Inc. and Ron Della Chiesa of WGBH selected the works for the exhibit from a field of 125 entries by Copley Society Artists. The paintings can be viewed at www.bso.org and visitors to the site can select which painting best captures the spirit of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition." The best-in-show painting, chosen by Kirby and Della Chiesa , with input from online participation, will be announced at a reception on April 12 prior to the symphony's first performance of the work this season
"Pictures at an Exhibition was originally composed in response to the passing of Mussorgsky's close friend, artist Victor Hartmann, who dies at age 39 in 1873. In the spring of 1874, the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia, mounted a posthumous exhibit of 400 of the artist's paintings, including few on loan from Mussorgsky's own personal collection. By June 22 of that year, the composer completed the work, with each of its ten movements alluding to individual watercolors created by Hartmann during his travels abroad. Some of the more descriptive movement titles include "Tuileries," "Ballet of the Chicks in their Shells," "The Market at Limoges," "The Hut on Chicken Legs (Baba Yaga)", and "The Great Gate of Kiev." Unfortunately, most of the original Hartmann paintings from the 1874 exhibit in t. Petersburg have been lost.
The conductor at the April 12 and 13 BSO performances will be Oliver Knussen, and the concerts will include two of Knussen's own works.
The Copley Society of Art, founded in 1879 by the first graduating class of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, is the oldest art society in America. The Society currently has 380 artist members, each of whom has been rigorously vettd through the organization's art committee. Its membership represents virtually every art medium, from oil and wtercolor painting to sculpture and photography. It is located in a brownstone at 158 Newbury Street, with two floors dedicated to gallery space. Its mission is to support its artist members by giving them an opportunity to show their work in a professional and patron-accessible environment. Visit www.copleysociety.org.