Galleriet: Behind the Music - ‘Signorelli’

‘Signorelli’, the second track on the EP, is named after Italian Renaissance painter, Luca Signorelli

 

Luca Signorelli was born in Cortona, Tuscany around 1445-1450 (the precise date is uncertain). I first came in contact with his work as a small child, visiting the Orvieto Cathedral (in Orvieto, Italy) which houses Signorelli’s larger-than-life frescoes (a “fresco” is a painting done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling). The frescoes were painted from 1500-1503 and cover all four walls of the Chapel of San Brizio inside the cathedral - they're considered the most complex and impressive work by Signorelli. Quoting from Wikipedia, “He and his school spent three years creating a series of frescoes concerning the Apocalypse and the Last Judgment, starting with the Preaching of the Antichrist, continuing with tumultuous episodes of the End of the World, finding a counterpart in the Resurrection of the Flesh. The fourth scene is a frightening depiction of the Damned taken to Hell and received by Demons. On the wall behind the altar, Signorelli depicts on the left side the Elect being led to Paradise and on the right side the Reprobates driven to Hell.”

 

As you can imagine, staring up at these graphic and dramatic scenes, painted in large scale across entire walls, left a strong impression on a young mind. I wasn’t raised religious so, despite being aware of their Christian context, I observed the paintings with an approach more akin to how a child digests a thrilling and treacherous fairy tale, much like Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood. The work was frightening but very intriguing.

 

Specifically, it’s the mood in the fresco The Damned Cast into Hell that contributed to the song, 'Signorelli'. The song’s opening lyrics; 

 

“Slowly descending 

Upward and down 

Inward and onward”

 

were directly inspired by the painting and its contorted human bodies tumbling down from the sky above. If you look closely at the painting, you'll spot a woman on the back of a flying demon at the center of the piece. Legend has it that this woman is a depiction of a real-life lover that scorned Signorelli during the painting of the fresco, which prompted him to immortalize her in this way.

 

The lyrics for 'Signorelli' also speak of once youthful expectations of grandeur that fade over time and become replaced by a creeping feeling of “is this all there is?”. Perhaps this aspect of human nature, too, can be traced back to the painting and its depiction of humans being judged at the End of Days.

 

“Where are the crowds? 

The swimming pools and open houses 

So many mouths 

For you to feed”

 

Listen to ‘Signorelli’ in its entirety on Spotify, Bandcamp, or any of the other streaming platforms. Or check it out below. Scroll down for the full lyrics.

 


‘Signorelli’

 

Slowly descending 

Upward and down 

Inward and onward 

 

Seems never-ending 

Faceless mirage 

Leaders and Bond girls 

 

Where are the crowds? 

The swimming pools and open houses 

So many mouths 

For you to feed 

 

Oooh, Oooh 

Aaah, Aaah 

 

Changing the channel 

Another day, another dollar 

 

Extravagant mammals 

Lovesick men in ice cream parlors 

 

Who is in charge? 

Is it you, or your mother? 

Where are the crowds? 

Where's that life? 

 

Oooh, Oooh 

Aaah, Aaah