Tina Do – Duc Dumbo
Spring is a recurring theme and endless source of inspiration for artists and musicians.
As spring arrives and the landscape bursts forth with color and life, artists and musicians are inspired to create works that celebrate the season.
In music, critic Nguyen Quang Long called spring “an indispensable love affair” and it has remained a persistent theme of compositions for generations. The 1942 song “Spring Wharf” by Van Cao is a longtime favorite, with its soothing melody and romantic narrative. Spring was also widely seen in stirring songs of wartime eras, such as “Dreaming of the Soldier’s Life” (Luong Ngoc Trac, lyrics by Mac Tan), “The Hope Song” (Van Ky) and “Spring on the Front” (Xuan Hong)…
Following national reunification, spring in music took on a joyful glow. The season became the fountain of youth for artists in a variety of songs such as “The First Spring” (Van Cao), “Spring in My Homeland” (Hoai Mai), “The Chord of Spring” (Cao Viet Bach, lyrics by Luu Trong Lu), “Hanoi in Spring) (Van Ky), “Spring by the Window”, “Spring on Ho Chi Minh City” (Xuan Hong) and “Spring is Calling” (Tran Tien).
Besides inspiring a passion in artists for the landscape of their homeland, spring is also an eternal setting for the stirrings of romantic love and this theme is also widely explored in music, particularly among a later generation of composers. Bao Chan has “Flowers and Plants in Springtime” and Huy Tuan “An Ode to Transition”, while Anh Quan found a popular hit with “The Silent New Year’s Eve”.
In the fine arts, spring is draped in countless shades and hues. From classical works by the Indochinese College generation of the early 20th century to pieces by contemporary artists, spring gleams and radiates with vitality. One of the most famous works in Vietnam is “The Spring Garden in North, Center and South” by artist Nguyen Gia Tri. The painting portrays beaming young women in traditional clothing against the vast backdrop of nature. Created over the course of 20 years (1969-1989), the painting is regarded as the pinnacle achievement of this masterful artist, the culmination of his research, skill and knowledge of lacquer. The work is one of the outstanding works of Vietnamese fine arts and registered as a National Treasure. In 1996, this masterpiece was purchased by the HCMC People’s Committee for US$100,000 and now on display at the HCMC Museum of Fine Arts.
Another renowned spring-themed work, “Flower Fair” by Bui Xuan Phai, was originally in the private collection of Mr. Pham Van Bong (also known as Mr. Hang Buom) and fetched a high price at auction by Christie’s (UK) in 1995 despite its modest size of 43 x 33cm. In contemporary fine arts, spring is characterized with radiant peach blossoms in the works by Nguyen Huu Khoa or flower fields in works by Pham Luan. As the Lunar New Year comes, spring fine art exhibitions are normally hosted for audiences to admire all the shades of this special season.