Listening to Schumann
Fernand Edmond Jean Marie Khnopff (12 September 1858 – 12 November 1921) was a Belgian symbolist painter.
Visual realism combined with a mood of silence, isolation, and reverie characterizes Fernand Khnopff's approach to Symbolism. Dissatisfied with the lack of spiritual meaning in Academic and Impressionist painting, he combined precisely depicted surfaces with enigmatic states of mind of his models. He became popular with Brussels society and painted thirty-four portraits between 1884 and 1890. Around 1900 Khnopff developed an international reputation; he also began constructing a villa, his private temple to Symbolist art. Like most Symbolists, Khnopff worked for Socialist causes. He was also a book illustrator, sculptor, designer, photographer, and writer.
Here, a lady - the artist's mother - seats in an armchair in an elegant living room listening to a piano discreetly suggested by a hand and a musical score. In homage to Schumann, Khnopff's favourite composer, the atmosphere of the painting attempts to transpose music.