This study, structured loosely on ‘The Burial of Count Orgaz’ by El Greco, relates in atmosphere and design to KINDERTOTENLIEDER (Songs on the Deaths of Children) a cycle of five orchestral songs (1901-4), by Gustav Mahler. The poems were written by Friedrich Ruckert after the death of his two children. The fifth poem: - ‘In this grim weather’ - transformed by Mahler, is of exquisite beauty. The central pillar of figures in the Deposition, relate to the remarkable transition from bitter irony to unsentimental acceptance so movingly expressed by Mahler. The painting also relates to Robert Schumman’s Liederkreis Op.39, setting to music a poem by Eichendorff; Mondnacht:- “Es war als hatt der Himmel”. The painting relates finally, to Richard Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder; in particular, the Hermann Hesse poem “Beim Schlafengehen” These pieces of music may be heard within the vicinity of this picture. A book of notes and studies - not on view - detail a large number of cross-references relating to this work.
The metaphor of the soul of the dead child rising to ‘heaven’ is of great significance to this project on education.
This painting may be seen as the heart in the body of this collection.