the beauty of music

The art of music as seen in Europe during the 16th and 17th century.

The Musical Angel was painted by Giovanni Battista di Jacopo, or Rosso Fiorentino, around 1522. It was painted using tempera as its medium. It stood 15.4 inches high by18.5 inches wide. Fiorentino was greatly inspired in his work by Michelangelo. His attention to detail and realism show in a lot of Fiorentino's work. Fiorentino used space in an interesting way as the black background creates almost an infinite field behind the angel.
Bernardino Zenale painted the Madonna Adoring the Child in around 1502. Born in Treviglio, Lombardy, Zenale was a member of the painters' guild, Milan's Scuola di San Luca. Some of his eraliest influences include Ercole de' Roberti, but by 1500 Leonardo DaVinci began to influence his work. In this piece, the virgin Mary is surrounded by angels making music to celebrate Christ's birth.
Cariani, vorn in Bergamo, traned in the Venitian studios under such artists as Giorgione. This painting, widely recognized as his masterpiece, depicts a music teacher, shown on the left, holding a book and watching his student. The musician in the center shows an overly passionate expression as he sings. The use of music in paintings demonstrated its power to transcend the norm and excite one's senses.
Callisto Piazza was born in Lodi, Lombardy. He was active in both Lodi and Brescia and was influenced in his work by Dosso Dossi and Ludovico Mazzolino. Inthis painting, a group of musicians play in a public setting. Our focus is on a female musician who is singing for the group. She has her sheet music laid out in front of her. The painting has a wonderful sense of texture from character to character as no two people look the same in dress or physical appearance.
Bacchiacca was born in Florence in 1494. He was a painter of the Florentine Mannerist style. The woman in the portrait wears a colorful dress that was popular in Florence in the 1540's. Her attire tells us that she was very affluent. The book of music she is holding tells us that she is educated. Bacchiacca uses color to contrast the subject with the background, using vivid color for the dress and a dull color for the background. This technique sets her apart and really draws the eye to her.
Gerrit van Honthorst was a Dutch painter whose work influenced such artists as Rembrandt van Rijn and Georges de la Tour. He was known for his night scene paintings so much so that he earned a nickname for them in Rome, Gherardo delle Notti. In this oil on panel piece, the artist paints a picture of a happy gathering of musicians on a balcony. The bright colors and lighting on the faces play into the mood.
Cornelis van Poelenburgh was a Dutch painter of the mannerist style. He was greatly inspired by Raphael's work. This painting is depicting the challenge issued by Marsyas the satyr to Apollo. Though the story has a gruesome outcome for Marsyas, van Poelenburgh paints the scene as more of a simple gathering with Apollo playing in the center and the satyr Marsyas to the right. Storm clouds form over his head hinting at the fate that awaits him.
Hendrick ter Brugghen painted the Bagpipe Player in 1624. He kept the subject in complete profile and captured the length of the instrument. He paints the musician in the very act of performing, as the bagpipe player is squeezing the bag with his forearms and blowing through the mouthpiece. The color pallate keeps to very neutral tones; mostly browns and tans, giving this piece a very relaxing feeling as opposed to the intense sound of the bagpipe.
The Music Lesson was painted somewhere around 1668 by Gerard ter Borch. This is an example of his 'high-life' genre, dealing with the high society figures. In this painting, an elegant lady recieves her music lesson on a double headed lute. The teacher keeps time and moves the passage along for her. Ter Borch was proficient in keeping distracting details to a minimum, like excess furniture. Here, we see only what we need to.
Jacob van Schuppen was commisioned to paint this piece around 1700. It is now believed that the one who comissioned him was Sir William Waldegrave, who we would see in the painting here along with his wife and niece. The painting shows them to be remarkably relaxed and informal, though still very richly attired. The luscious colors denote the affluence of the family.
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