Nicola Verlato, Robert Johnson and the Devil, 2010⁠⠀

Robert Johnson was a legendary musician born in 1911 in Mississippi, famous for creating the Delta blues style and for pioneering guitar techniques. As a young man he wasn’t a particularly good guitarist until he spent a year studying with musician Ike Zimmerman at night in a graveyard. When he returned to the music scene audiences were shocked to see him transformed into a master musician. Rumors began to circulate that Johnson had made a pact with the devil: incredible guitar skills in exchange for his soul. Johnson’s life ended too soon in 1938. He had been chatting up a bar owner’s wife one night and his drink was poisoned.⁠⠀
Verlato gives us the moment when the legend was born, when Johnson makes the infamous pact with the devil (the crouching figure with a cloven hoof, a skeletal hoof, and a smoking guitar) at the crossroads. A tumultuous whirlwind of guitars and demons in jeans and cowboy boots is about to touch down in front of Johnson, as lightning cracks over farmland in the background.

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