Art inspired by Music or Music inspired by Art... / by Jeannine Cook

I find that inspiration from music comes at all sorts of unexpected moments. This watercolour painting, "Palestrina at St. John's Cathedral", came about one spring because I was lucky enough to go to a wonderful concert by the Tallis Singers in St. John's Cathedral, Savannah, Georgia, during the Savannah Music Festival ( While I sat listening to ethereal notes of Palestrina, I found myself composing this painting, based on the beautiful polychrome interior of the Cathedral.

Inspiration occurs in the other direction too, of course. Just this last weekend, February 21-22, 2009, in the Leisure & Arts section of The Wall Street Journal, Morten Lauridsen wrote a fascinating description of how Francisco de Zurbaran's "Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and
a Rose" ( was the inspiration for his composition, "O Magnum Mysterium". The intensity of feeling conveyed by the lemons, oranges, orange blossom, single rose and fine china cup depicted against the dark background, together with their eloquent placement on the table, helped Lauridsen define what he wanted to say in his musical composition. It is an article well-worth seeking out for its insights into how one form of art allows for great inspiration and creativity in another form of art.