I don’t paint many still life paintings, but when I do I try to inspirit them with some symbolism like the masters of the past did before. “Music of War” is the painting about life and death. On the left side of the composition you can notice a two-string musical instrument called “Topshur”. It takes its origin from the Western Mongolian tribes. Mongolian people usually sang songs about wars and heroes of the past accompanied by this instrument. They also played topshur before a battle to inspire people. Somehow this instrument symbolizes a war. But the same time music can symbolize life, movement, inspiration. On the right side of the composition you can see the human skull in old style Mongolian hat. Apparently, it symbolizes death, “Memento mori”.
I decided to paint two light sources. Left one is red. A color of life, fierce and energy. Topshur is being lit by this light. Right light source is green. In color psychology green color stimulates harmony in the brain. It is a calm color. All of us will find desired peace after death.
Also, painting this still life I was inspired by 19th century Russian artist Vasily Vereshchagin. One of his most famous paintings is “The Apotheosis of War”. He has painted a big pile of sculls in a middle of Central Asian steppe. Inspiration came to me from the inscription on the frame of this large painting: “Dedicated to all conquerors of the past, present and future”.
Also, when I paint still life paintings, I usually use an old multilayer technique (like Flemish, a little bit modified). It takes a lot of time to finish a piece with such technique. Paintings made this way have volumetric light, the illusion of volume and presence is incredible. The light pierces the canvas and reflects from the wall where the painting is hanging and lightens the canvas from inside. As the shadow areas have the most transparent layer it glows the most. You can notice this effect on many masterpieces of 17th-18th century.