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Title: The sight of sound : resonances between music and painting in seventeenth-century Italy
Author: Poulton, Charlotte Tanner
ISNI:       0000 0004 2698 6357
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2009
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The seventeenth century was a period of significant innovations and developments in music theory, vocal music, and instrumental music. It also was a period of innovation in paintings that depict musicians and musical instruments. Art historians and musicologists have tended to interpret music-themed paintings as pictorial records of contemporary musical performance practices in either domestic or sacred settings. Such an approach, however, overlooks the subtleties and complexities of the individual paintings and fails to consider possible relationships between the paintings and broader social, political, and religious contexts of Italian Seicento painting. This study dismantles the idea of paintings of musical subj ects as a homogenous group and demonstrates that these works are more visually and intellectually complex than previously thought. This thesis presents five case studies that analyze music-themed paintings produced between 1590 and 1677 from different perspectives: Chapter One presents a reassessment of Caravaggio's The Lute Player, created for Vincenzo Giustiniani, that challenges existing interpretations rooted in performance practices and offers, instead, a reading in light of the madrigaVmonody debate. Chapter Two focuses on the many paintings of St. Cecilia produced after 1600 to explore both the implications of a female saint increasingly depicted with stringed instruments and the effects, pictorially and spiritually, of her rapt engagement with music-making. Chapter Three analyzes critically for the frrst time the relationship between Bernardo Strozzi's rustic peasant musicians and his patrons' desires to fashion themselves as part of the new nobility in Genoa and Venice. Chapter Four explores how Pietro Paolini's three images of luthiers comment on the artisanship of instrument making; on the relative merits of the senses; and on the enduring virtues of knowledge, skill, and physical labor. Chapter Five enlarges upon existing scholarship on Evaristo Baschenis' musical instrument still-lifes by investigating overlooked religious undercurrents beyond merely vanitas, and by exploring the social and spiritual dimensions of silence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available