Artists

Bob Thompson
1937–1966


Audio

  • Spilling Over, Spanish

    Bob Thompson, Triumph of Bacchus, 1964

    Bob Thompson, Triumph of Bacchus, 1964

    0:00

    Narrador: Triumph of Bacchus, de Bob Thompson, se basa, a grandes rasgos, en una obra de Tiziano, pintor renacentista. Baco—la figura amarilla sostenida por la gran forma que parecería ser parte ave y parte trono—descansa tranquilo en el centro del grupo. Thompson, cuyas formas se inspiraron en pintores clásicos renacentistas, como Piero della Francesca, desarrolló esta composición partiendo de las siluetas de figuras.

    Stanley Crouch: Su compromiso con estas siluetas es muy importante porque considero que eso era parte de la libertad que buscaba.

    Narrador: Stanley Crouch escribió un ensayo acerca de Thompson, donde exploró las intersecciones entre la historia del arte, el jazz y la experiencia de los afroamericanos en esta pintura.

    Stanley Crouch: Es decir, que si se utilizan siluetas en colores muy brillantes, no son negras necesariamente porque sus rasgos se tornan secundarios con respecto a su forma. Creo que eso es parte del intento de Thompson por alcanzar lo universal. En otras palabras, parte de lo que Thompson está diciendo es que, a fin de cuentas, todo es geometría. Nadie podrá decir nunca que, debido a mi raza, no le gusto a la geometría. Creo que para él, eso era importante: que hay ciertas cosas que trascienden todas las convenciones y los defectos de nuestra sociedad.

    Narrador: Las pinturas de Thompson eran a menudo alegorías que celebraban a músicos de jazz contemporáneos, como Nina Simone y Ornette Coleman. En esta obra se enfocó en una figura clásica, que representa el espíritu de la improvisación, el cual también se relaciona con el jazz libre. Baco era el dios griego del vino, la locura y el éxtasis divino.

  • Spilling Over

    Bob Thompson, Triumph of Bacchus, 1964

    Bob Thompson, Triumph of Bacchus, 1964

    0:00

    Narrator: Bob Thompson’s Triumph of Bacchus is loosely based on a work by the Renaissance painter Titian. Bacchus—the yellow figure borne aloft by the large form that seems part bird, part throne—rests calmly at the center of the group. Thompson, whose forms were inspired by classical Renaissance artists such as Piero della Francesca, built this composition out of silhouetted figures. 

    Stanley Crouch: His commitment to these silhouettes is very important, because I think that that was part of the freedom that he was searching for.

    Narrator: Stanley Crouch has written an essay on Thompson, exploring the intersections of art history, jazz, and Black American experience in his painting. 

    Stanley Crouch: That is, that if you use silhouettes and you use them with very bright colors, they're not black, not necessarily, because you make their features secondary to their form. That, I think, is part of Thompson's attempt to achieve the universal. That is, that part of what he's saying is that it's all geometry, anyway. No one can ever say that, because of my race, geometry does not like me. Because that to him I think was important, is that there are certain things that transcend all of our social conventions and social shortcomings.

    Narrator: Thompson’s paintings were often allegories celebrating contemporary jazz musicians like Nina Simone and Ornette Coleman. He focuses here on a classical figure, but one who embodies a spirit of improvisation that might also be found in free jazz: Bacchus was the Greek god of wine, madness, and divine ecstasy.



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