Music in Art: International Journal for Music Iconography XXIII (1998)


Antonio Baldassarre (Universitä Zürich), Music, Painting, and Domestic Life: Hortense de Beauharnais in Arenenberg.

The paper addresses a small number of paintings with musical subject matter, some of them belonging to the collection of the Napoleon Museum in Arenenberg, Switzerland. It provides an initial evaluation of an ongoing project, focusing on the assessment of these paintings in a context which extends beyond cataloguing and indexing issues. By considering of both painting and music, the author elucidates the background that made a rather paradoxical phenomenon possible: surrounded by an environment shaped by rustic life and traditions, far away from the European cultural, intellectual, social, and political centers of the early nineteenth century, a unique domestic life with significant social and cultural activity emerges at Arenenberg Castle while Hortense de Beauharnais, stepdaughter and sister-in-law of Napoleon I, lived in exile there (1822–37).

Zdravko Blažeković (The Graduate Center, City University of New York), The Understanding and Misunderstanding of Terminology and Iconography of Instruments in Fendulus’s Abridgment of Introductorum maius in astronomiam.

Between the 1220s and about 1500, an abridgment of Introductorium maius in astronomiam, written by Abū Maʿšar (787–886), was copied several times and six copies have been preserved, originating from southern Italy, the Low Countries, and Paris. The abridgment itself, based upon a Latin translation of the treatise by Hermann of Dalmatia (Karinthia) (from 1140–43), was made in the second part of the twelfth century by Georgius Zothorus Zaparus Fendulus. The total number of images representing instruments, in all six manuscripts, is about 150. It is a rare opportunity to have such a chain of textual and iconographic sources, wherein we can trace almost the exact origin of each organological term and, through its illustration, recognize its precise meaning at the time. A comparison of corresponding images shows textual and iconographical changes occurring in the terminology of instruments during the translation of Abū Maʿšar’s text from Arabic into Latin, clues about instruments which provide Fendulus’s misunderstanding of Latin terminology in his illustrated prototype of the abridgment, and the changes which occurred in the iconography during the transmission of the treatise throughout Europe over almost 300 years.

Gerry Farrell (City University, London), Images in Early Indian Gramophone Catalogues: Tradition and Transformation.

Images included in early 20th-century Indian gramophone catalogues contain ancient symbols from Hinduism and Indian iconography, which are transformed in such a way that they helped sell this new product. Although the gramophone images are not attempts to duplicate rāgmālā paintings as such—with their specific and complex symbolism—certain aspects of this tradition can be recognized in the gramophone images, demonstrating how the importance in Indian culture of certain images was associated with the power and magic of music, and how these were transformed to suit the promotion of a new technology.

Florence Gétreau (Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires, Paris), Street Musicians of Paris: Evolution of an Image.

“Free spectacles on the boulevards, Foire Saint-Germain, charlatans, beggars, Savoyards, Auvergnats, Cries of Paris, travelling musicians, bell chimes, music of the French Guards, instrumental players, singers” from Mercier’s Tableau de Paris of the end of the 18th century demonstrate an extraordinary soundscape offered daily in the French capital. Later on, street organs, orphéons and band music in the public gardens, balls in squares and suburbs, singers selling broadsheets, and one-man-bands, bring additional color to 19th-century streets. In the 20th century, the métro becomes an extension of the street. An evocation of musical Paris through the multiplicity of painted images, drawings and engravings, from the time of the Pont Neuf of Henri IV up to the present, enables us to reconstruct the decor, to define the instrumental ensembles, including voices, to determine the sex, age, social status and inventive power of the musicians, and also to plot a topography of their favorite places. Literary chronicles, archival documents (police regulations, trials, logbooks of journeys of traveling musicians), musical instruments and the printed song collections such as broadsheets all contribute towards bringing these practices to life and permit an interpretation of their musical and social importance. Combining images of power and antipower, realist vision but also panegyric, like caricature, the iconography of street music practices is seen to be a particularly rich kaleidoscope for capturing the contrasting image of a Parisian musical space which is rarely studied in its totality.

Metoda Kokole (Muzikološki Inštitut, Slovenska Akademija Znanosti in Umetnosti, Ljubljana), Pictorial and Literary Testimonies Concerning the European Late-Medievals Dance in Slovenia.

In Carniola, medieval pictorial representations of dancers occur in the frescoes on the facade of the church at Crngrob (ca. 1460) and the exterior wall of the Church of St. Elizabeth at Podreber near Polhov Gradec (1520–30). The first shows three dancing couples and at least three musicians, and the second two couples dancing to the music of a single piper. The dancers in the Crngrob fresco seem to be performing a stately dance. The slightly inclined poise of the two dancing couples in the fresco at Podreber recalls the ondeggiato characteristic of a saltarello or a piva. A glimpse into the role of dancing in the social life of the country nobility offers the Itinerarium by Paolo Santonino (1475), who mentions the dance at a castle of Majšperk in Lower Styria.

Laurence Libin (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Philip Reinagle’s “Extraordinary Musical Dog”.

Philip Reinagle’s early nineteenth-century “Portrait of an Extraordinary Musical Dog” (Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts) realistically depicts a spaniel that seems to be playing a piano in an English country house. Sheet music open on the piano’s music rest contains a previously overlooked setting of God Save the King. This amusing image raises questions of the artist’s purpose and calls to mind the astounding musical accomplishments of contemporary child prodigies, notably William Crotch, who, soon after his second birthday, reportedly taught himself to play this popular patriotic air on the piano.

Maria Francesca P. Saffiotti (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University), Disiecta membra from a Sistine Chapel Choir Book: MS Cappella Sistina 11 Illuminated by Vincent Raymond de Lodève.

The manuscript Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Cappella Sistina 11, an Antiphonary Proper of Saints, was written for Pope Paul III Farese in 1539 by Ferico Mario da Perugia and illuminated by Vincent Raymond de Lodève. In its current state, the manuscript is lacking five historiated initials: the Transfiguration (6 August), St. Lawrence (10 August), the Decollation of St. John the Baptist (29 August), All Saints (1 November), and the feast of St. Clement I Pope and Martyr (23 November). In recent years, five initials that can be attributed to Vincent Raymond have appeared on the antiquarian market and on the basis of the internal evidence—involving stylistic, iconographic, and textual analysis—and a close codicological study of the parent manuscript, they are identified as cuttings from MS Cappella Sistina 11.

Walter Salmen (Kirchzarten, Burg am Wald), The Muse Terpsichore in Pictures and Texts from the 14th to 18th Century.

The history of the reception and interpretation of the Muse Terpsichore was very complex. Since the Muse was not at all times regarded and identified with the dance, her attributes were often changed (book, scorll of music, small organ, lyre, harp, cetra or tambourine), evoking her different meanings.

Martin van Schaik (Utrecht), Ancient Marble Harp Figurines: The Search for a Stratified Context.

Ten Cycladic marble figurines of a seated harp player, from ca. 2700–2300 B.C., are examined from the viewpoints of archaeology, religion, musicology, and art history, in order to increase our knowledge of their use and function. The convergence of views and interpretations of such interdisciplinary approach provides an information on the authenticity of the harp statuettes and the role they played in the religious thinking of Aegean society during the third millennium B.C. Since the harp models may be regarded as miniature copies of existing musical instruments, they tell us about the type of instruments used and their organological characteristics, performance practice, and the state of instrument building.