What’re they listening to? Renaissance art edition

Renaissance paintings are known for their expressive characters and exaggerated features. It’s easy to get lost in the gazes of these portraits and imagine the life of the subjects. If we can imagine their lives, why not their soundtracks?

Diane Chasseresse – Anonymous

What they’re listening to: “Moon: 57 – Warp Wet Woods” from The Sleepwalk’s Phantasmagoria II

I can only imagine Diane sneaking around the warp wet woods, hunting for sustenance with their dog companion. The birds are probably the ones creating the soundtrack, I’m not exactly sure on how they got the instruments though…

-Cole Billings, In-Studio Director

La Fornarina – Raphael

What they’re listening to: “BAWDY” Shygirl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRgX4achQDs

The placement of her expressive hands and indecent exposure undeniably represents that this woman is a bad b*tch. “BAWDY” is the ultimate, feeling-your-self, twerk-alone-in-your-room banger. Tell me you can’t see a montage of La Fornarina (little bakeress) kneading dough and playfully throwing some flour around while moving her “bawdy” to this gem from Shygirl’s recent EP ALIAS

-Cami Koons, Content Director

Portrait of a Young Man – Sandro Botticelli

What they’re listening to: BROCKHAMPTON Saturation I-III

Portrait of a Young Man (aka ye old skater boy or hoop and stick boy??) I can definitely picture this kid stuck reliving the glory days of the BROCKHAMPTON Saturation era. He’s the kid whose only personality trait is about how he discovered BROCKHAMPTON before they got big. Still to this day he considers himself a music god and rejects all other artists because BROCKHAMPTON did something “no other band has ever done before…” He rejects other forms of music just like Renaissance artists who rejected all other forms of art, because they thought “no other artist had done this before…”

-Erin Bugee, Communications Director

Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife – Jan Van Eyck

What they’re listening to: “Wedding Bell” Beach House

“Wedding Bell” for obvious reasons, and also because Devotion-era Beach House just sounds like a renaissance painting to me. This is especially true for the album opener, with its elegant use of the harpsichord gently striding along with those signature Beach House guitar pedals. It’s an effortless marriage between late 2000s indie pop and hymnal music (very sexy). The sonic qualities of everything on Devotion come coated in the soft golden glow that those cut from a Catholic cloth are all too familiar with, and it helps that Victoria Legrand’s vocals sound as if they’re echoing through a place of worship by default.

It is also speculated that “Wedding Bell” is meant to express the band’s feelings on “marrying” their newfound crop of fans with a sophomore album. There is an excitement for this new journey in Legrand’s words, but also uncertainty, just as with any marriage. It’s an innocence that is represented by Jan Van Eyck’s inclusion of oranges to the left of the groom, as well as the ivory complexion of the bride. Lest we forget the symbolism of the soft, red four-poster marital bed gorgeously contrasted against the bride’s emerald gown; the soft, muted colors given life by the feeble autumn sun; the dog also probably represents something, kind of odd that there’s a dog there, whatever. 

The painting, as well as all Beach House music, sets the stage for that slow, nose-to-nose missionary where you say “I love you,” and other gross sh*t like that. And the dog will be right there watching it all.

-Sam Blaufuss, Content/DJ Staff

Lady with an Ermine – Leonardo Da Vinci

What they’re listening to: “The Knock” by Hop Along

First of all, the title of the album is Painted Shut. The singer, Frances Quinlan, has this fantastic gravelly voice. Ermine? Looks like a hairless cat to me, no? Also, Frances is non-binary, and this lady gives off androgynous vibes. Plus, that necklace! The song talks about someone knocking on the door and trying to talk to someone else. The lady in the image looks as if she might be looking toward that door, in the direction of the knock. She also seems like she doesn’t care to answer the door because she’d rather be cuddling the creature in her arms instead. Valid.

-Ellynn Mayo, Content Staff

Christ Child with a Walking Frame – Hieronymus Bosch

What they’re listening to: Benny Hill Theme

Little naked man run funny.

-Griffin Lowry, Music Director

Bacchus – Caravaggio

What they’re listening to: “All the Wine” – The National

Is choosing a song about wine for a painting of Bacchus way too on-the-nose and uninspired? Yes. That being said, this song exudes the same energy as the young Bacchus’s gaze in this painting. “All the Wine” starts with a grandiose expression of lead singer Matt Berringer’s limitless confidence and talent, including the amazing lyric “I’m a perfect piece of ass.” This same self-confidence is apparent in Bacchus’s demeanor, inviting the viewer in with a subtly condescending gesture and facial expression. Additionally the song’s chorus is a simple, yet appropriate refrain: “And all the wine is just for me.” This song truly captures Caravaggio’s image of the Greek god of wine and ecstasy. 

-Kade Schoenfeldt, Programming Director

The Derelict – Sandro Botticelli

What they’re listening to: “Memento Mori” – Crywank 

The Latin title of this bleak Crywank song translates to “remember that you must die,” and Botticelli’s Derelict looks like she is well aware of her own mortality. Even after hosting The Big Sad for a semester, I can honestly say that this is one of the most melancholy songs I have ever encountered—and I have been a connoisseur of sad music for a long, long time. Appearing on Crywank’s 2013 album Tomorrow Is Nearly Yesterday and Everything Is Stupid, “Memento Mori” reflects not only on the fleeting nature of human existence (“In my life, will I make a difference? / In my death, will I be missed?”) but on the staggering, consuming fear of what might happen after we die (“Will I be granted some sort of an afterlife / Or will I just cease to exist?”).

With genre classifications such as “emo,” “sadcore,” and “folk-punk,” it is unsurprising that the British duo behind Crywank crafts such depressing tunes. The instrumentation in “Memento Mori” makes the track stark, raw, and desperate. Singer Jay Clayton’s slightly reverb-ed voice floats ethereally over light guitar picking and drums, both of which grow more intense and frantic as the song reaches its peak. The song concludes with a reprise of its more subdued introduction, including the repeated lyrics “Everyone I love is gonna die / And I will die as well / I think about this before I sleep / And have since I was a child.” This callback ties the song together, strengthening its central themes and leaving listeners with the sensation that time is a paradox and the only certainty in this existence is death.

-Jaya Chakka, Station Manager/The Big Sad host