Space inspires. Space lets the imagination roam. In space all things are possible. What a wonderful place for the artist and musician! Meanwhile, Mars in the popular imagination is evocative. It is laden with promise and prejudice. It is a ripe subject for the artist, open to all sorts of interpretation.
Historically, Mars is a place where aliens lived. Not only that, these aliens were a potential threat to the Earth. On another level, Mars is a mythical place reminiscent of ancient gods and legends, reaching back to the dawn of civilisation. Others see the planet as we know it today, a vast desert wasteland of dust storms and biting cold. And if we look to the future, perhaps it becomes a place where mankind will settle and terraform into some lost Eden.
With Mars, art teachers have a superb subject that offers much scope and endless possibilities bounded only by the imagination.
Here is a list of artists who have chosen Mars as a subject. It is compiled partly from "Visions of Space" by David Hardy, and "Space Art" Starlog Photo Guidebook. None can be considered specialists in Mars, but all have done paintings of aspects of the planet, from the early 20th century onwards:
Kurt C. Burmann
William K. Hartmann
Recently Damien Hirst painted two pictures for the Beagle 2 mission. Lucien Rudaux was a professional astronomer who was also a brilliant artist, and the early professional Mars observers should also be considered: Schiaparelli, Antoniadia and Percival Lowell.
Mars is a popular subject for musicians, both classical and popular.
The best know piece of music associated with Mars is probaably from Gustav Holst's Planet Suite. This powerful and evocative piece "Mars: the Bringer of War".
Jeff Wayne has also written a musical, based on H G Wells' classic, "The War of the Worlds" .
There is much scope with Mars as a subject for writing and creating music.
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