"Art is the signature of Civilizations." Chopin and Warsaw's Legacy
Grand pianos are suspended from hot-air balloons over a European cityscape in this fanciful watercolor painting. That city is a surreal intermingling of present and past Warsaw, the very same city where the composer Chopin lived and studied the piano for the first half of his life, ultimately moving away to Paris until his death at the age of 39. After the November Uprising of 1830-31 was crushed by Russian forces, "Warsaw [was] little more than a military garrison, its university closed."
Chopin was never to return.
In interviews, Polish watercolorist Tytus Brzozowski describes a yearning to depict the many shifting realities of the hometown he shares with Chopin. Roughly translated from an interview with Twarze Warszawy:
"I do not paint exactly what is. Painting can express emotions which may evoke the city. You do not have to be literal to reflect the nature of Warsaw streets."
In the context of so much turmoil seen by Poland, the voices of composers and imagery of artists sustaining a coherent identity is all the more poignant. As American soprano Beverly Sills observed,
"Art is the signature of civilizations."