I sit down at my desk at 9 a.m. and the muse has learned to be on time.
— Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Tchaikovsky is always shown in white tie at a premier or some other society event, surrounded by European nobility and Imperial Russian elite, and framed in red and gold. Here he relaxes at Lake Geneva, wearing a robe of the colors of the mid-winter holiday he co-created. He died from drinking a tainted glass of water, some say deliberately because of his sexual orientation in an intolerant society.
Air, sea and snow are roughly suggested in this painting, but it’s up to the viewer (who is you) to assemble and make sense of these elements. (Do you think life in czarist Russia should be easy?) The frontal, waist-up composition suggests Russian icons, complete with halo or two looking for a head, both of them melting and dripping their gold all over him. I varied some of the shadings from left to right to add warpage, to push this otherwise flat picture from behind a little bit.
Is that a broken cross of Pyotr’s forehead? I don’t know, maybe you can
ask Ratspukin next time you see him.