Robert Schumann biography - portrait illustrated with fun musical facts

classic music music portrait explained

The incredible story of Robert Schumann !

An incredible life of Classical and Literal Music, talented, a love story with her musical wife alter Ego, a huge family but a sad ending in madness. Here is the life of the romantic composer in with illustrated facts.

1.Robert Schumann born to be a Literature Star

1-robert schumann library father literature career

Robert Schumann was born in 1810. Thanks to his father who was a bookseller, he spent time reading in the library. Completely crazy about books, he was planning to make a career  in Literature as Writer.

2-robert schumann and george bernard shaw literature

He was good at it : he was praised for his writing abilities by George Bernard Shaw himself !


2.Robert Schumann's mother will : be a Lawyer

3-robert schumann father died when he was 16

When Robert's schumann was 16, his father died. His mother decided to stop his musical career and asked him to enter a Law school for a much more prestigious career.

4-robert schumann quit music for law school in leipzig


He didn't say no and enter the Leipzig law school. He wasn't that commited to his studies. He actually spend some time hanging out in Leipzig and this lead him to have an incredible revelation.

5-robert schumann not interrested by law career in leipzig

3.Robert Schumann had a Musical Revelation watching Niccolo Paganini live

While hanging out in Leipzig, Robert stop to see what the crowd was watching. He saw Niccolo Paganini performing violin like a Rock Star.

6-robert-schumann-inspired by niccolo paganini

He was astonished by the showmen, the virtuosity and got the revelation about making a musical career...again.

Her mother say yes to the musical career and sent him off taking courses with Mr Friedrich Wieck, specialized in training virtuosis.

7-robert schumann study piano with friedrich wieck

4.Forbidden love between Robert Schumann and Clara wieck

 Robert worked hard on his musical pieces and wasn't alone to take lessons from the prestigious Friedrich Wieck. there was this talented young girl learning piano as well and Robert fell in love with his co-student : the 8 years old Clara Wieck. Who was also Friedrich Wieck daughter !

robert-schumann-fell in love with clara wieck 8 years old daughter friedriech wieck

Mr Wiek strongly opposed their relationship but the two lovers and pianist continued to flirt and when Clara attained her legal age, the two got married.

 

9-wedding clara wieck and robert schumann

It wasn't that easy : Clara was a child prodigy, performing international concert tours by age eleven, Friedriech fears that her marriage to a composer would destroy the plans he had for her music career.

he opposed their union in all the way he could : he threatened

  • to shoot Robert
  • disinherit her daughter
  • vicious rumours against the couple
  • And promotion of a rival female pianist, Camilla Pleyel.

5.When Schumann invented a finger strenghener and Ruined His Concert Career and Fingers...

Robert wanted a career as a concert pianist, badly. Very impatient with his progress, he craft a finger strengthening device out of a cigar box. This was used to keep some fingers straights while the other plays the piano.

10-robert-schumann-build finger strengthener device from a cigar box

Convinced the instrument would get him there faster. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Schumann wound up partially paralyzing his right index and middle finger of his right hand

11-robert schumann injured permanently two fingers end his carreer concert pianist

It was the end of his pianist career


6.Schumann’s Year of Song, in love and inspired !

After 1840, when Robert Schumann finaly got married with Clara, he was so happy and in love that he could not stop composing new songs.

12-robert-schumann in love 1841 schumann year of song


The year became famous known as "Schumann’s Year of Song" which was characterized by 140 lieder including the celebrated cycle Dichterliebe (A poet’s love). Some other large-scale works include a piano concerto for his wife, Genoveva, and many more works.

7.Robert Schumann and children : modern Dad

Clara and Robert remained together and had 8 children. His wife Clara served as a source of inspiration and criticism throughout his life and she even performed piano pieces he had written but couldn't play (due to his wounded fingers) 

13-clara playing pieces that robert schumann wrote

 

Robert was a modern Dad ! He loved spending time with his children, helping at home, upbringing : he played games, read books.

14-robert schumann 8 kids enjoy being a father modern dad

Schumann's music was also affected by his love for his children. Such a s the merry peasant piece, papillons, or scene from childhood.

 

15-robert schumann Album For The Young Op.68 -10 - The Merry Peasant

8.Robert Schumann mental illnesses

16-robert schumann melancholy spleen mental disorder

Throughout all his life, Schumann suffered from mental disorder : a melancholia that nourishes contemporary theories about relations between talented genius and  and mental illness.

Robert lives between phases of exaltation and depression.


9.End of career and life

17-robert schumann first suicide attempt brother died cholera

Leipzig,1833. Robert's sisters Émilie and Rosalie died, his brother died by cholera. He experience his first crisis and first suicide attempt : he tries to jump out of the window.

18-suicide attempt robert schumann sent mental asylum

 

After another suicide attempt in 1854, when he jumps into a river with hopes of drowning. He was rescued and Robert Schumann i admitted at his own request to a mental Asylum near Bonn.

Hearing a persistent A-note at the end of his life, suffering from schizophrenia, mercury poisoning (mercury was used as treatment for syphilis), confined, he  died in 1856 at the age of 46.

19-robert schumann died in 1856 at age 46 a note syphilis mercury poison

Want more details ?

The print of is available on my website with plenty more details put inside the portrait.

 

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