Perhaps choosing this painting as the album cover was meant as a parody. If so, why not push it further? Remember the erotic scene in The Piano when Harvey Keitel caresses Holly Hunter’s leg through a tiny hole in her stocking as she plays the piano? (See below. I could only find it in Italian.)
If parody is the aim, then why not parody that scene? Perhaps the image on this Mexican soap (which promises that a woman who uses it will be able to say, “I dominate my man”) could serve as inspiration. (In Mexico you can buy “magic” soaps for almost any purpose.) If she had something to lean on, she could certainly play the violin in this position. If worked into a Romance-novel-style cover, I wonder how many CDs the image of a violin-playing dominatrix might sell?
Was the Durand painting used tongue-in-cheek? Who does their market research? What kind of buyers was this cover aimed at? Do the readers of Romance novels buy lots of classical solo violin albums? Perhaps they do. Perhaps they listen to them as they read. Perhaps the vibrant sound of the violin helps them visualize pure-hearted heroines domesticating the hitherto untamed, wild-haired men of their dreams.
If so, those readers should keep a wary eye on the violinist in Salieri’s Dream. Judging from the look on his/her face and Salieri/Sewell’s face, this dream could be a dark one. There are hints that this vision could turn into a Jack-the-Ripper nightmare rather than a bodice-ripper fantasy.