Music in Art: International Journal for Music Iconography XXVI (2001)


Eleonora M. Beck (Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon), Revisiting Dufay’s Saint Anthony Mass and Its Connection to Donatello’s Altar of Saint Anthony of Padua.

In a 1987 article David Fallows proposed a connection between Dufay’s Saint Anthony of Padua Mass and Donatello’s Saint Anthony of Padua altar (completed in 1446–50), believing that the twelve movements of the Mass correspond to Donatello’s twelve angel musicians. The two works, however, share little in common beyond their subject and it does not appear to be documentation supporting the notion that Donatello and Dufay might have met. Over the centuries, Donatello’s panels showing angel musicians were rearranged on the altar, but the newly considered musicological, historical, and literary sources shed light on their possible original placement. Viewing these panels in the context of the three species of music proposed by Marchetto of Padua in his Lucidarium, one can rearrange them in a hierarchical fashion: two panels of angel singers represent “harmonic” music, four wind players represent “organic” music, and six string and percussion players represent “rhythmic” music.

Zdravko Blažeković (The Graduate Center, The City University of New York), What Marsyas May Have Meant to the Cinquecento Venetians, or Andrea Schiavone’s Symbolism of Musical Instruments.

Andrea Schiavone (Medulić, ca. 1510–63) painted the theme of Marsyas several times. The most interesting composition is the drawing of Apollo flaying Marsyas (Musée du Louvre), once a part of Vasari’s Libro de’ disegni. Although influenced by Parmigianino, Schiavone introduced three new elements in this drawing: Marsyas appears as a human, in the contest with Apollo he played bagpipes, and in the composition is included Athena, usually present at the contest but not during the flaying. At the time when Schiavone moved from his native Dalmatia to Venice, the Ottomans were attacking Dalmatian towns (Skradin in 1512; Imotski in 1513; Knin, Skradin, and Karin in 1514; Petar Kružić defended Klis in 1524 and Senj in 1525, but was defeated in 1537) and it would be hard to imagine that the psychosis caused by the proximity of the enemy troops played no role in his selection of artistic motifs, at least on a subconscious level. Schiavone might have depicted the bagpipes (mišnice) characteristic for rural population of the Dalmatian hinterland to identify Marsyas as a metaphor for Christian Dalmatians tortured by the Infidels. Such a symbolism is comparable to Titian’s composition of Marsyas, which reflected the events in Cyprus, where the commander of the Ottoman troops Lala Mustafa Pasha, on 1 August 1571—just two months before the battle at Lepanto—ordered the commander of the Venetian army Marcantonio Bragadin to be dragged around the walls, with sacks of earth and stones on his back, then tied on a chair and hoisted to the yardarm of the Turkish flagship where he was exposed to the mockery of the sailors. Finally, he was taken to the main square of Famagusta, tied naked to a column, and flayed alive. Flying of Marsyas is in the Christian iconography parallel to the martyrdom of St. Bartholomew.

Mariagrazia Carlone (Università degli Studi di Pavia, Cremona), Copies, Replicas, and Variations in Paintings with a Musical Subject.

Examples from works by Gaudenzio Ferrari and his pupil Bernardino Lanino, as well as Ambrosius Benson, Callisto Piazza, Bonifacio de Pitati and several anonymous artists show how musical iconography in works of art was influenced by techniques of transmission and reiteration of figurative models among painters and their students and imitators, both inside a single workshop and between different workshops. Artists used sketches, drawings, cartoons, and engravings as a repertoire of details (including musical ones) for use in different works, sometimes even creating “patchworks” in order to create new compositions, the process of copying being part of their education based on the imitation of prestigious models.

Mario Giuseppe Genesi (Accademia Coreutico-Musicale “Gerundia”, Lodi), Tredici strumenti musicali e un bicinium duobus vocibus nel coro ligneo rinascimentale della Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista a Parma [Thirteen musical instruments and a bicinium duobus vocibus in the Renaissance wooden choir stalls in the Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma].

The original 69 wooden choir stalls in the Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma were executed Marcantonio Zucchi (1469–1531) beginning with 1512, and six addition stalls were added by Gian Francesco (1506–1590) and Pasquale Testa (1524–1587). The stalls are arranged in two semicircles, and among their decorations are represented 24 instruments, such as the hurdy-gurdy, Basque drum, lute, shawm, flute, viola da braccio, bells. Also shown are two opened music books; one without any notation and the other with a two-voice composition.

Svetlana Kujumdžieva (Hilandar Research Library, The Ohio State University), ΑΣΟΜΕΝ ΤΩ ΚΥΡΙΩ: The Miniature Depicting the Song of Moses in Manuscript Vat. Gr. 752.

A unique full-page round miniature in the Byzantine Psalter from 1059 (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vaticanus graecus 752, f. 449v) includes several inscriptions around and within the image. The longer of them is taken from the first biblical canticle, the Song of Moses (Exodus XV, 1–19). The miniature has a secular contents, with fourteen dancing women and eight men playing instruments. Their dresses are luxurious in the fashion of the imperial court, and it appears that the depicted event is going beyond the conventional content of the first biblical ode written around the image. The questions of why, where, and when such a picture could have been included in a liturgical manuscript is discussed against the background of the meaning of the first biblical canticle over the course of the centuries, and life in Byzantium related to rituals, dances, and instruments during the 11th and 12th centuries. The organization of the miniature in a form of crown, symbolizing the unity between Church and Emperor, and the significance of numbers (eight musicians and fourteen dancers) suggests that the miniature is related to the 1059 coronation of the Emperor Constantine X Duke, held in Constantinople on 23–24 November. The painter must have been highly educated person from or close to the circle of Patriarch Constantine II Leichudes, known as a leader of the young intellectuals.

Arnaldo Morelli (Università della Calabria, Cosenza & Conservatorio di Musica Ottorino Respighi, Latina), Portraits of Musicians in Sixteenth-Century Italy: A Specific Typology.

Studies of musicians’ portraits have generally focussed on a single painting, paintings representing a single musician, or have created a panoramic view of musical portraits in an extensive geographical area or period. Little attention has been given to the seemingly clearly identifiable iconographical type of portraits representing a single musician. In order to reveal a specific recurring typology, reflecting certain cultural, chronological or geographical context, such portraits should be considered as a group rather than individually. As a case in point are presented three portraits of a male figure standing beside a table on which is placed a music partbook and a transverse flute: an anonymous Portrait of Oste da Reggio (?) from the Cremonese school (Brescia, private collection Fenaroli-Avogadro); Portrait of a Veronese ‘capomusico’ attributed to Domenico Riccio “Brusasorci” (Verona, Museo di Castelvecchio); and anonymous Portrait of Francesco del liuto (Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana). In view of the strict proximity, both temporal (all three dating from around the middle of the 16th century) and geographical (two from Lombardy and one from Verona), the iconographical analogies presented by these portraits could be a reference to a possible typology specific to portraits of musicians. The flute and the music partbook assumed a symbolic meaning alluding not to a generic musician, but to the musician who is also the composer and maestro di cappella. It is in the course of the 16th century that emerged the new professional figure of the maestro di cappella, who was not only a music teacher and a leader of the singers anymore, but a composer responsible for the repertoire. This new figure of a maestro di cappella undermined the ancient conception of music, overturning the hierarchy of theory and practice, and thus allowing music to be fully integrated into humanistic culture. The three discussed portraits seem to show this new musical figure, embodied in the new profession of the maestro di cappella. Practical music had become music tout-court.

Anno Mungen (Johannes Gutenberg-Univeristät, Mainz), Entering the Musical Picture: Richard Wagner and 19th-Century Multimedia Entertainments.

The popular entertainment shows, Panorama, J.M. Daguerre’s Diorama (first shown in Paris 1822) and the Berlin Pleorama of the 1830s, are related to Wagner’s concept of music theater. The example of the symphonic interlude of Siegfried’s Rhine Journey from Die Götterdämmerung and its scenic integration in the drama demonstrates Wagner’s attempt to seduce the spectator and listener to become part of the theatrical image, parallel to Daguerre’s Diorama and other multimedia theater shows of the 19th century. This aesthetic strategy is based on the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, as it was prominent throughout the whole 19th century and not only picked up by Wagner. Especially the symphonic interlude is based on the idea of simulating another reality outside of the real world, since at this moment there are no theater images actually available. This topography was well known through all kinds of media images of the river valley. The audience listening to Wagner’s interlude in the darken opera house actually recreates the well known visual image in their mind.

Anno Mungen (Johannes Gutenberg-Univeristät, Mainz), Orchestra: Klangkonzepte für Opernhäuser in Berlin und Dresden [The orchestra: Concepts of sound in opera houses of Berlin and Dresden].

The entry “Orchester” in Brockahaus Conversationslexikon of the 1830s both refers to the ensemble of musicians executing the music and to the spot where the musicians are located in the theater—the orchestra pit. While composers like Gaspare Spontini and Richard Wagner (both also as conductors) dealt with the seating of the musicians in the orchestra pit to follow up their ideals of a well mixed sound, the architects Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Gottfried Semper worked on architectural solutions of the inner space of the theaters referring to very similar ideas. Schinkel’s lowered orchestra pit of the Berlin Schauspielhaus with its consequences for the sound in general as well as Semper’s opera house for Dresden are analyzed, in order to suggest that the architect’s close relationship to the mentioned composers might have influenced their work as much as the music by Spontini and Wagner could have been based on spaces for music by these architects.

Katherine Powers (California State University, Fullerton), The lira da braccio in the Angel’s Hands in Italian Renaissance Madonna Enthroned Paintings.

There are a number of Madonna Enthroned, or sacre conversazioni, paintings with solo lira da braccio angel musicians; among them are Cima da Conegliano’s Madonna Enthroned with Saints (Parma National Gallery) and Giovanni Bellini’s San Zaccaria altarpiece. In what became pictorial convention, the angel musician playing the lira da braccio is depicted in realistic performance, holding a physically correct instrument and fingering a true chord. Angel musicians constitute the largest category of musicians in art of the time and are an important source of information regarding musical instrument design of the Medieval and Renaissance. Though some caution is warranted when regarding the instruments in religious scenes, I believe that the angel musicians, including the solo lira da braccio, in iconic Madonna Enthroned scenes—as opposed to narrative subjects—do relate to realistic performance practice. The contemporary viewer would recognize not only the subtle variety of the angels’ soft musical instruments and their ensemble combinations, but also their repertoire and purpose. This study examines the instrument and performance practice of the solo angel lira da braccio musician in the Madonna Enthroned paintings of the Veneto, relating the solo lira da braccio-playing angel found in the Madonna Enthroned 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), Kabinettscheiben (vitrail civil): Musikikonographisch betrachtet [Kabinettscheiben (vitrail civil): Music iconographic point of view].

Kabinettscheiben (rectangular, round, or trefoil-shaped stained-glass panels to be set in bull’s-eye glazing and viewed up close) could be found exhibited in great many German, French, Austrian, and Swiss museums, but not often described in the literature. These small paintings on glass, however, are important iconographical sources which provide ample information about musical life and symbolism from the 14th to 18th century.

Walter Salmen (Kirchzarten, Burg am Wald), »Eine Bande von Musikanten«: Die Genese eines Gemäldes von Moritz von Schwind [“A gang of musicians”: A genesis of a painting by Moritz von Schwind].

Between 1845 and 1847 Moritz von Schwind (1804–1871) painted one of his most delicate masterpieces: Die Rose oder Die Künstlerwanderung (Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Inv. Nr. AI 110). Eleven preserved sketches for the painting provide an information about its development, documenting how Schwind tested different visions of its medieval context. Counterposing in his narration a fabulous medieval story about marriage with a low status of simple itinerant musicians, Schwind obviously wanted to confront incompatibility of the high and low layers of the society. Conveying the criticism of musicians as artists, genius, and casual Musikanten Schwind also pointed out the social problems of musicians.