Loosely based on the song cycle used in the Gustav Mahler‘s last movement of his Fourth Symphony -
Das Himmlich Leben (A Child’s View of Heaven). The songs were inspired by a book of German folk poems,
Das Knaben Wunderhorn (The Youth’s Magic Horn) - the central figure of this painting. The painting
tackles issues of assimilation, conversion and the often terrible consequences for Jews and is presented
as a contemplation of death from a child's perspective akin to Peter Pan's 'awfully big adventure.'
The sadness of death contrasts with the peaceful content of the child's paradise. Mahler, a Jew who
converted to Roman Catholicism in order to secure the position of director at the Court Opera in Vienna,
is portrayed as the nursery rhyme character ‘the cat and the fiddle’ innocently playing for child victims
of the Holocaust.
Gustav Mahler & The Youth's Magic Horn (A Child's View of Heaven)
2006, Oil on Canvas, 48" h x 84" w