Chopin, the poet of the piano

Painting of Chopin by Delacroix in the Louvre museum

Frédéric François Chopin was a classical pianist and composer. Born in Poland in 1810 to a French father and a Polish mother, Chopin arrived in Paris in October 1831 and died there in 1849 at the age of 39.

Chopin’s Paris

In addition to Chopin’s grave in Père Lachaise cemetery, there are several points of interest to visit in Paris. Some of the more quirkier ones are:

  • Salon Chopin, a reproduction of the apartment where Chopin died. Bibliothèque Polonaise à Paris, 6 quai d’Orléans, Paris 4
  • A plaster cast of Chopin’s left hand at the Musée de la Vie Romantique, 16 rue Chaptal, Paris 9
  • Half of an oil on canvas of Chopin in the Louvre painted by his friend, Delacroix (also buried in Père Lachaise, Div. 49). The original painting also included George Sand watching Chopin play piano. For some unknown reason, the painting was cut in half. The other half with George Sand is located in the Ordrupgaard museum near Copenhagen.

This painting by Delacroix was divided into two for unknown reasons. The George Sand half is located in the Ordrupgaard museum near Copenhagen, while the Chopin half is located in the Louvre. 1838, 78 x 56.5cm, oil on canvas.

Painting of Chopin by Delacroix in the Louvre museum
Painting of Chopin by Delacroix in the Louvre museum (Photo Leon Salcedo/Flickr)

Further reading

  • Guide and map to Chopin’s Paris (in French)
  • Société Chopin à Paris
  • Chopin’s Heart, Alex Ross, The New Yorker Culture Desk, February 5, 2014
  • The Parisian Worlds of Frederic Chopin, William G. Atwood, Yale University Press
  • Chopin in Paris: The Life and Times of the Romantic Composer, Tad Szulc, Da Capo Press

Père Lachaise

Chopin’s grave (Div. 11) is one of the most visited in Père Lachaise. More that 3,000 people attended his funeral at the Église de Madeline. Mozart’s Requiem was played following his wishes.

The soil that Chopin kept from his native Poland was sprinkled on his grave. His heart was taken to Poland by his sister and placed in the Holy Cross church in Warsaw. The sculpture is Euterpe, the muse of music. This sculpture and the medallion of Chopin’s profile are both by Clésinger (also buried in Père Lachaise, Div. 10).

Pèlerinage sur la tombe de Chopin au Père-Lachaise vers 1920
Chopin’s grave ca. 1920. (Photo public domain, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons)
Other musicians buried on the same path are singer/songwriter, Mano Solo, jazz pianist Michel Petrucciani and classical composer, Luigi Cherubini.

Feature photo courtesy Leon Salcedo/Flickr

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