Music in Art: International Journal for Music Iconography XXIX (2004)


Theodore Albrecht (Kent State University), The Musicians in Balthasar Wi­gand’s Depiction of the Performance of Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, Vienna, 27 March 1808.

In connection with a birthday performance of Haydn’s oratorio Die Schöpfung at the Aula of the University of Vienna on 27 March 1808, Princess Esterházy commissioned artist Balthasar Wigand (1770–1846) to paint a representation of the occasion, which he incorporated into the lid of a stationery box for presentation to the composer. While several individuals in the depiction (Prince and Princess Esterházy, Haydn, conductor Antonio Salieri, and even Beethoven) have long been identified, we can now identify eight members of the orchestra on the platform in the distance: concertmaster Franz Clement, principal (and concertino) contrabassist Anton Grams, pianist Conradin Kreutzer, trumpeters Anton Michael and Clemens Trnka, probably alto and tenor trombonists Franz Hörbeder and Philipp Schmidt, and especially influential timpanist Ignaz Manker.

Jannet Ataeva (Rossijskij Institut Istorii Iskusstv, Rossijskaja Akademija Hudožestv, Sankt-Peterburg), Iconography of Musical Instruments in St. Petersburg Monumental and Decorative Sculpture.

Representations of musical instruments have been included in decorations of monuments of St. Petersburg since the town’s founding in 1703, documenting changes of instruments’ symbolism, meaning, and interpretation. The most commonly represented instruments in decorations on 18th-century public buildings and private residences, 19th-century apartment houses, and buildings of the Soviet era are the trumpet and the lyre—symbols of military valor and poetic inspiration—but they also include rare images of Russian folk instruments, such as the balalaika and accordion.

Antonio Baldassarre (Zürich), »Among the Best Striving Today, There Are Secret Relationships«: The Kandinksij-Schoenberg Connection Reconsidered.

In his very first letter to Arnold Schoenberg (18 January 1911), Vasilij Kandinskij expressed his conviction that his and Schoenberg’s “efforts … and the entire way of thinking and feeling” have “a great deal in common. Schoenberg’s reaction to Kandinskij’s assessment was very positive as proved by his reply of 24 January 1911. It is known that the immediate stimulus for Kandinskij’s statement was the concert in Munich on 2 January 1911 at which was performed music by Schoenberg. Kandinskij’s very initial response to this concert was, however, not the aforementioned letter to Schoenberg but rather two charcoal sketches in which he visualized his impressions of this concert. These two sketches are very informative because they explicitly belong to the genesis of Kandinsky’s canvas Impression III (Concert). In this respect they elucidate the process of visual abstraction realized in Impression III. This process embodies aesthetic and existential aspects according to the premises of Kandinskij’s principle of “inner necessity” (innere Notwendigkeit). This principle of aesthetic creativity is not only relevant to Kandinskij at this period but also to Schoenberg, as his compositions (in particular the second string quartet op. 10, the three piano pieces op. 11, Die glückliche Hand op. 18 and Herzgewächse op. 20) and the correspondence with Kandinskij as well as their collaboration in Der Blaue Reiter clearly prove. The aesthetic principles of these two artists suggest a correspondence of perspective which provides an illuminating focus for a closer examination of the rather complex relationship between them. Kandinskij’s and Schoenberg’s oeuvres of the years around 1910 as well as the letters they exchanged are striking evidence that the principle of “inner necessity” is not so much the result of any possible expressionist endeavor as the consequence of changes in artistic techniques. The later estrangement between the two artists can be interpreted in a new way: Although Kandinskij’s supposed anti-Semitic remarks from May 1923 played an important role, equally important was the dissolution of the conditions specific to and determining the constellation of the network of relations between Kandinskij and Schoenberg.

Eleonora M. Beck (Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon), Justice and Music in Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel Frescoes.

Representation of music beneath Giotto’s figure of Justice and the disruption of music making under Injustice in the Scrovegni Chapel have enigmatic meaning. Justice sits in a niche surrounded by classical and gothic decorations. Beneath her, three women sing and dance to the playing of a tambourine. On the opposite wall sits Injustice, an old corrupt judge on a crumbling seat, bordered by cracked medieval ramparts. Below him the once placid world is disrupted, the women beaten, and the music stopped. The program for Giotto’s musical justice consists of a complex web of influences, including Peter of Abano’s astrological writing about Venus and Mars and Cicero’s De Officiis and De Republica. The connection between justice and music established in the frescoes is paramount to the understanding of subsequent representations of music in the Trecento, including Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Effects of Good Government in the City in the Sala della Pace in Siena and the ballatas in the Decameron of Boccaccio.

Mariagrazia Carlone (Università degli Studi di Pavia, Cremona), Portraits of Lutenists.

The hypothetical identification of the sitter on a portrait painted by Giulio Campi as the renowned sixteenth-century lutenist Francesco Canova da Milano provided the impetus for a study into more general questions related to identification of portrayed persons. Portraits of lute players by Giulio Campi, Antonio Domenico Gabbiani, and an anonymous painter are examined with the intent of discovering the many-faceted problems encountered when trying to identify them with professional or amateur musicians. An examination of paintings confined solely to their internal features might create many hazards, since most works of art survive in conditions that were altered since the time of their creation, and success in identification of the sitter is often clinched by external evidence, such as another painting or some archival document.

Anna Harwell Celenza (Michigan State University, East Lansing), The Vienna Secession and Music, 1897–1902.

Founded in 1897, the Vienna Secession was a group of internationally-minded painters, sculptors, and architects who resigned from the imperial city’s professional artists’ association, the Künstlerhaus, and created an independent entity with its own exhibition building and artistic ideology. This article examines the relationship between the Secessionists and Vienna’ s music culture during its early years, and describes the culmination of that relationship in 1902 at the Klinger-Beethoven Exhibition. This exhibition was one of the Secession’s most controversial shows. Previous studies concerning the event have tended to describe it as “the apotheosis of Beethoven reception”—a final glimpse of late-Romantic ideology, but as this study suggests, an alternate reading is possible. The Vienna Secession did not organize their exhibition in an effort to idolize Beethoven. Instead they appropriated the image and “idea” of Beethoven in an effort to legitimize and advance their own cultural authority. Specifically, this paper addresses two primary issues: the socio-political agenda fueling the Klinger-Beethoven Exhibition of 1902 and the ways in which musical imagery, specifically the image of Beethoven, was manipulated by the Secession artists into a modernist, ideological construct. The primary sources for this study include the art works connected with the exhibition; the official journal of the Secessionists, Ver Sacrum; and caricatures and reviews of the exhibition that appeared in the Viennese press.

Suzanne Fagence Cooper (Victoria and Albert Museum, London), Playing the Organ in Pre-Raphaelite Paintings.

Music was an important subject in the art of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882) and Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898), and the inclusion of portative and positive organs is a key to understanding the Pre-Raphaelites’ changing relationship with medieval and Renaissance art. Engravings from Bonnard’s Costumes Historiques (1829), for example, were copied and re-emerge in their works. The organ was traditionally associated with images of female sanctity, especially St. Cecilia. A comparison of the renderings of St. Cecilia legend in Rossetti’s wood engraving (1857) and Burne-Jones’s series, Le Chant d’Amour (1863–1877) shows how the sacred origins of the composition are subverted, turning them into sensual images. This transition is related to the interest in Venetian art which develops in paintings by Rossetti and Burne-Jones in the later 1850s. Walter Pater’s criticism of Giorgione sheds light on Burne-Jones’s approach to musical subject, and places the art of these Pre-Raphaelites in a wider Victorian context.

Charles Frederick Frantz (The Conservatory of Music, Lawrenceville & Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey), “Le décor symbolique”: Claude Debussy and Emile Gallé.

Emile Gallé (1846–1904), a celebrated French contemporary of the American artist in glass Louis Comfort Tiffany, was France’s most innovative fin-de-siècle glass maker and decorative artist. His art was motivated by a love of nature that went beyond the bounds of botanical representation. Artistic transformations of flowers and insects in glass emerged as fantastic images of a dream world. The inexpressible materialized in a glassy matrix. Qualities of abstraction—witnessed from certain perspectives in Debussy’s music—informs images and symbols through allusion in Emile Gallé’s glass works Iris (ca. 1895–1900) and Geology (ca. 1900–1904). In these respects, his artistic conceptions in glass invite comparison with Debussy’s sound world in “Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut” from Images, set II (1908).

Florence Gétreau (Institut de recherche sur le Patrimoine musical en France [CNRS], Paris), Romantic Pianists in Paris: Musical Images and Musical Literature.

Among famous pianists, Liszt gave rise to an impressive amount of portraits, often in contrasted registers, if we compare them with the iconography of Paganini; for Thalberg, we swim between academism and caricatures, while Chopin’s portraits are usually expressing his very personal temperament. A comparison of this iconographical documents with contemporary literature (concert reviews in musical press, writings by artists like George Sand or Liszt) unveils a specific change in the relationship between virtuosi and public at the time of “concerts spectacles”.

Barbara Russano Hanning (The City College, The City University of New York), From Saint to Muse: Saint Cecilia in Florence.

Saint Cecilia’s iconic status as patron saint of music is universal, although she is principally associated with Rome, where her basilica was founded in the fifth century. The revival of her cult in the seventeenth century resulted in renewed interest on the part of poets, musicians, and painters, many of whom were in the Roman orbit. After reviewing her legend (based on the thirteenth-century Golden Legend and scenes from her life depicted in the early fourteenth century) and describing her relationship to music explored are connections between Saint Cecilia and Florence, where the Accademia degli Elevati adopted her as patron at the time of its founding in 1607. Under Medici rule, Florence was dominated by male saints; but with the renewed interest in the cult of Cecilia, her image began to proliferate among Florentine artists (Artemisia Gentileschi and Carlo Dolci) and specifically for female Medici patrons (the archduchesses Maria Maddalena and Vittoria della Rovere). The paper highlights a special connection between Saint Cecilia and a young Florentine virtuosa singer Arcangela Paladini (d.1622), who may have been the model for one of Artemisia’s paintings of the virgin martyr. Through the examination of these representations and verbal descriptions, traced is Cecilia’s transformation from virginin ecstasy (established principally by Raphael’s 1513/14 painting) to the allegorical figure (celebrated by seventeenth-century artists) of La Musica herself— from exalted saint to inspirational muse.

Trevor Herbert (The Open University, United Kingdom), Selling Brass Instruments.

The period between 1830 and 1930 witnessed significant cultural change in respect of brass instruments, and their imaging—used both in commercial advertising and more widely—reflect their cultural context and reveal about their performance idioms. The article examines the advertisements and imagery employed by European brass instrument manufacturers and music publishers, as well as the Conn advertising campaigns of the 1920s in the USA. It also looks at the images through which brass bands promoted themselves. A significant concern is the importance of military imagery and military endorsement in both the marketing of brass instruments and the imaging of brass bands in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the way in which this became obsolete by the 1920s. The band of John Philip Sousa represented the culmination of military imagery as a serious influence on brass playing—that is, both its high point and its conclusion. The demise of such military connotations marks a significant shift in the definition of brass idioms in the twentieth century.

Leslie Hansen Kopp (New York), Music Forgotten and Remembered: The Life and Times of Emanuel Winternitz.Â

Emanuel Winternitz (1898–1983), the distinguished curator of musical instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for more than forty years, was the father of the field of musical iconography, and instrumental in founding CIMCIM, RIdIM and RCMI. Born and educated in Vienna, Winternitz received his doctorate in law and political science in 1922, in the following year studied in Hamburg with Ernst Cassirer, and later was in Vienna a member of the Miseskreis. In 1938, Winternitz prosecuted the assassin of Moritz von Schilck, and when the trial became an anti-Semitic white-wash, he gave an impassioned speech, which made him a marked man. With few possessions and incomplete papers from the British consulate, he took a chance, boarded a train, and made it safely into Switzerland. A little more than a month later, he came to the United States. Winternitz joined the staff of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1941 upon an invitation of its director Francis Henry Taylor. A year later, Winternitz was appointed Keeper of Musical Instrument and embarked upon the systematic reorganization and rehabilitation of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments of All Nations. When the museum made in 1949 its collection of musical instruments an official department, Winternitz was appointed its curator. From 1943 to 1961 he produced at the museum a concerts series with music played on authentic instruments and for each event wrote elaborate program notes. Winternitz organized several exhibits, including “The Evolution of the Baroque Orchestra” (1954), “Musical Instruments of Five Continents” (1961), “Pleasing to Eye and Ear Alike” (1967), and the permanent installation in the André Mertens Galleries (1971). He was also the author of numerous articles and books, among them Musical Autographs from Monteverdi to Hindemith (1955), Musical Instruments of the Western World (1966), Musical Instruments and Their Symbolism in Western Art (1967), and Leonardo da Vinci as a Musician (1982).

Darja Koter (Akademija za glasbo, Ljubljana), Turqueries and Chinoiseries with Musical Symbols: Examples from Slovenia.

At the Akademija za Glasbo in Ljubljana are preserved paintings The concert on the Oriental court (1786) and The lute concert (ca. 1786) by Johann Josef Karl Henrici (1737–1823), depicting musical life in European aristocratic society of the second half of the eighteenth century, which are in their details tuned up on exoticism. The first painting presents the allegory of music, while the second can be understood as the allegory of hearing or the allegory of five senses. In the Dornava mansion, which used to be owned by Austrian aristocrats and today is considered to be one of the most exceptional mansions in Slovenia, on the painted wall canvas are preserved Chinoiseries from about 1750, which belong among the most distinguished European examples of this genre. Represented scenes are produced after seventeenth-century fantastic and grotesque engravings (one source was the series Balli di Sfesania by Jacques Callot from ca. 1622), in the details comparable to Chinoiseries produced for the European market of the second half of the eighteenth century. Among motifs of the Italian comedia dell’arte and scenes of imaginary life in China, are depicted two figures, one playing a stylized lyre and the other a bowed string instrument. The instruments seem to be European, but depicted with fantasy it is obvious that their symbolism overcomes strictly musical meaning.

Sabine Meine (Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hannover), Cecilia Without Halo—The Changing Musical virtus.

Cecilia, the Christian martyr and later patron saint of music, embodies Christian virtuousness (in Latin virtus) and this her attribute marked her depictions right up to the early modern age. An abundance of Cecilia portrayals produced between the 15th and 17th centuries document changes in approaches to her significance. Among them exceptionally interesting is the one by the Roman artist Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–1652/53), which offers an opportunity for an analysis of the process of artistic secularization in the early modern age. While in earlier paintings, musical symbols of Cecilia are merely an additional attribute of the saint supporting her spiritual virtuousness, in her later portraits as a musician she loses her halo. Her attributes of power, originally fixed in a moralistic and religious manner, are now redefined as those of a secular artist. This change from virtus to virtuosity in her portrayals is parallel to changes which occurred in music around and after 1600.

Anno Mungen (Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar der Universität Bonn), Music Iconography of Modernism: From the Weimar Republic to Nazi Germany and Beyond.

Krenek’s opera Jonny spielt auf (1927) was one of the key works of the Weimar Republic and German modernism. Its story focuses on an American jazz musician’s adventures in Paris and other places in Europe. Krenek’s work reflects the influence of Americanism, and especially jazz, on European culture of the period. The embodiment of this important movement in transcultural relations is the saxophone and its player. Jazz or what European composers of that era considered to be jazz, not only was held to be the most authentic American musical art but was also directly linked to the image of the African-American performer. Universal Edition, Krenek’s musical publisher in Vienna, used this symbol of jazz to represent and market his work; the cover of the piano score to Jonny spielt auf features a dark-skinned saxophone player. This image of jazz became the icon of German musical liberalism and diversity in the 1920s. The 1937 Nazi art exhibit Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) ridiculed and reject all art that did not conform to official politics and aesthetics. This exhibit was followed in 1938 by a parallel undertaking, Entartete Musik, to expose the “degeneration” of music. The image created for Krenek’s opera was changed accordingly: Ludwig Tersch’s poster shows a saxophonist who looks more like a monkey than a man, wearing an earring and the Jewish star—the logo of Entartete Musik from then on. The story of this image reveals its different functions and how particular images influence perspectives on and reception of music.

Nancy November (Victoria University of Wellington), Theater Piece and Cabinetstück: Nineteenth-Century Visual Ideologies of the String Quartet.

An examination of two prominent early nineteenth-century “visual ideologies” of the string quartet, systems of musical thought that were expressed through metaphors of viewing. The metaphor of theater, in the discourse of French theorists and performers of the time, reveals their concern to understand the visual and performative nature of the string quartet as an integral and vital part of one’s experience of this music. By contrast, German artists and writers tended to champion and define what they called the “true” string quartet by its supposed anti-display aesthetic, and by the supposed “purity” of its tones. Their rather different viewpoint was encapsulated by the metaphor of the string quartet as music’s Cabinetstück (cabinet piece). As the nineteenth century progressed, this German ideology of the “true” string quartet tended to yield a restricted view of chamber music in general, a narrow conception of how this music was, ideally, to be performed and heard. This conception arguably persists to the present. A study of early nineteenth-century French ideas about the string quartet can serve to open up our perspectives on this music today. Taken as a whole, this discourse tells us not only about old and new ways to perform and experience this music. Nineteenth-century visual ideologies of the string quartet offer us a window on pressing (and private) concerns of the time. These ideologies speak to contemporaries’ needs to find a truly authentic mode of communication and self-expression through music, needs that arose in the face of an irrevocable destablization of music’s private sphere.

Katherine Powers (California State University, Fullerton), Music-Making Angels in Italian Renaissance Painting: Symbolism and Reality.

Emanual Winternitz rightly observed that angel musicians constitute the largest category of musicians in art of the Renaissance. Iconic Madonna Enthroned altarpieces and Madonna and Child devotional paintings as well as narrative Marian scenes of the Nativity, Assumption, and Coronation depict angels playing lutes, fiddles, lire da braccio, and other instruments, all with physical realism. Such authenticity years ago inspired the question, are the angels depicting true performance practice or are they performing “celestial” music? I have catalogued and studied angel musicians in Madonna subjects from the high Renaissance (ca. 1450 to 1530) and have come to believe that, in certain subjects, the angel musicians are also depicting realistic performance practice. The contemporary viewer would recognize not only the angels’ musical instruments and ensembles, but also their repertoire and purpose. This study examines the instrument and performance practice of the angel musician in the Madonna Enthroned paintings of the Veneto, relating their performance to the viewer’s reference point, to musical practice in northern Italy, and to music as the viewer recognized it and understood it.

Walter Salmen (Kirchzarten, Burg am Wald), Musical Scenes in and on Town Houses from the 14th to the 16th Century.

With the rise of urban culture in the late Middle Ages, patricians, traders, merchants, and craftsmen increasingly built houses matching their social standing. The well-to-do urban people additionally displayed their wealth and standing by means of sumptuously decorated representational rooms and embellished house facades. The banquet and dance halls decorated with painted banners, friezes, coats of arms, and narrative series of pictures (in Lübeck, Zürich, Diessenhofen am Rhein, and Vienna) as well as houses with painted facades and sculptured friezes (in Reims, Gdansk, Erfurt, Berchtesgaden) frequently feature musical instruments and scenes involving dancing and music making.

Dujka Smoje (Université de Montreal), Colors of Bach’s Music: Farbsymphonien in Jakob Weder’s Painting.

The Swiss painter Jakob Weder (1906–1990) conceived his 51 Farbsymphonien, as abstract paintings, based on music, mostly by the 18th- and 19th-century composers (Gluck, Händel, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms), with a special attention for the J.S. Bach scores. His way to the Farbsymphonien was a lifelong task, covering over forty years of theoretical research and chemical experiments with colors and light. This patient effort resulted in objective, material basis; he developed color and grey scales based upon visual mixing proportions, which can be divided into an almost limitless number of equidistantly spaced (“tempered”) intervals. The aim of Weder’s efforts was to formulate objective statements about colors, based on relationships which could be represented mathematically. He created a “tempered tuning” for colors analogous to that in music, resulting in internal relationships which form the material basis of the painter’s work. Weder’s investigations in the field of color gave a rational basis to the creative process, which followed thematic ideas, subjective and psychological interpretations, and musical models. Bach’s music brought him the first idea for the conception of the well-tempered clavier of color shades, a tool he used later for the transposition of the musical score on the canvas. In the last decade of his life, it was on this “keyboard of colors” that Weder developed the major group of paintings, his Farbsymphoni­en. Although founded on musical scores—almost half of them based on works by J.S. Bach—they are not just inspired by music, indeed they are not even metaphorical illustrations of musical works. Rather, they trace an original path in the relationship between painting and music.

Ellen Van Keer (Centre Leo Apostel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel), The Myth of Marsyas in Ancient Greek Art: Musical and Mythological Iconography.

This paper considers the (few) textual and (many) visual sources of the ancient Greek myth of Marsyas from a combined musicological and mythological point of view. The general aim is two-fold: (a) to demonstrate the relative autonomy and mutual complementarity of textual and visual sources in the research of musical and religious history; (b) to establish the reciprocity of the disciplines involved in the study of the visual representations of musical myths, notably of musical and mythological iconography. I have substantiated the complementarity of the approaches researchers take to gain insight into the representations of the myth of Marsyas and the music of the aulos in ancient Greek culture and art. The integrated study of pictorial representations of the myth of Marsyas can help us transcend the stereotypical interpretation of this myth and substantially improve our understanding of the wealth and diversity that so much characterize Greek mythology and music. To the Greeks, the aulos was not merely ill-fated, improper, inferior and the antithesis of the supposedly superior kithara. Nor was Marsyas merely the exact opposite of Apollo. In fact, this study suggests that not only iconography and philology, but also musicology and mythology, and even Marsyas and Apollo, the aulos and the kithara are necessarily mutually complementary.

Heinz-Jürgen Winkler (Hindemith-Institut, Frankfurt am Main), Paul Hindemith, Emanuel Winternitz and Collegium Musicum.

Paul Hindemith’s artistic personality is distinguished by a truly unique versatility. He was not only one of the outstanding violists of his generation, but also for a long time considered to be the leader of the musical avant-garde. He was a pioneer in the dissemination of contemporary music as an organizer of the Donaueschingen Music Days. His professorships in composition, music theory and musicology enabled him to gain varied pedagogical experience. His theoretical and aesthetic writings reveal the high level of his activities as a creative artist. Hindemith first came into contact with the early music in 1922. He discovered the viola d’amore as an instrument for his own concert use, playing it during the following years in numerous performances, ranging from solo appearances and chamber music to orchestral concerts. Moreover, he himself composed two works for the viola d’amore. Starting in 1927, he led courses in historical performance practice on period instruments from the collection of the German musicologist Curt Sachs, kept at the Berlin Music Academy. At Yale University in New Haven, where he began teaching in 1940, he soon took over the leadership of the Collegium Musicum as well. He prepared concerts with his students; these served as musical illustrations of his courses in the history of music theory. In order to enable this ensemble to perform on original instruments, Hindemith made contact with Emanuel Winternitz, the curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Musical Instrument Collection. Through Winternitz’s support, the Collegium Musicum under the direction of Paul Hindemith became an important institution for the cultivation of historical performance practice.