Friday, June 30, 2017

People Making Music in European Paintings

Lorenzo Lippi
Allegory of Music
ca. 1650
oil on canvas
private collection 

Gerard ter Borch
The Music Lesson
ca. 1668
oil on canvas
Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Pieter De Grebber
ca. 1620-23
oil on canvas
Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao


The rites deriv'd from ancient days
With thoughtless reverence we praise,
The rites that taught us to combine
The joys of music and of wine,
And bade the feast, and song, and bowl,
O'erfill the saturated soul,
But n'er the Flute or Lyre apply'd
To cheer despair, or soften pride,
Nor call'd them to the gloomy cells
Where Want repines, and Vengeance swells,
Where Hate sits musing to betray
And Murder meditates his prey.
To dens of guilt and shades of care
Ye sons of Melody repair,
Nor deign the festive dome to cloy
With superfluities of joy.
Ah, little needs the Minstrel's pow'r
To speed the light convivial hour;
The board with varied plenty crown'd
May spare the luxuries of sound.

 from the Medea of Euripides, translated by the great Samuel Johnson (1782)

Mathieu Le Nain
before 1677
oil on canvas
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

Diego Velázquez
The Three Musicians
ca. 1618
oil on canvas
Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Anonymous Flemish Tapestry
Musicians in a garden
ca. 1650-1700
silk and wool
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Evaristo Baschenis
Still-life with musical instruments, books and statuette
ca. 1650
oil on canvas
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Agostino Ciampelli
God the Father surrounded by music-making angels
ca. 1600-1610
British Museum


"If materialism were content to build scaffolding on which to ascend to the nebulae and transform itself into so much mist in the turning of the great cosmic vortex  well, that would be a point in its favor, in my view; but as long as it presents itself as simply a 'fight for survival' or a struggle with Nature, all its victories strike me as meaningless."

 Kasimir Malevich (1920) translated by Jonathan A. Anderson

Carlo Maratti
Figure of Music
ca. 1660-1710
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Agostino Tassi
Women playing music and a girl dancing
ca. 1610-20
British Museum

Paul Gauguin
Portrait of Cellist Frédéric Guillaume Schneklüd
oil on canvas
Baltimore Museum of Art

Edgar Degas
Portrait of the cellist Pilet
ca. 1868-69``
oil on canvas
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Edgar Degas
Seated Violin Player
oil on paper
Phillips Collection, Washington DC

Gian Paolo Panini
Musical Fête
oil on canvas
Louvre, Paris