Tag Archives: Iconography

Ikonografia muzyczna: Studia i materiały

new series

In 2012 the Instytut Sztuki Polskiej Akademii Nauk launched the series Ikonografia muzyczna: Studia i materiały, edited by the team of the Katalog Źródeł Muzycznych led by Paweł Gancarczyk. The first issue of the series is the collection Z badań nad ikonografią muzyczną do 1800: Źródła – problemy – interpretacje (Research into music iconography before 1800: Sources, issues, interpretations).

The series will publish studies on inventory, analysis, and interpretation of art works with musical themes. Its interests include all the traditional areas of musical iconography (depictions of musical instruments, musical scenes, images of musicians, etc.) as well as wider issues of the presence of music in visual arts.

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Franck and Rodin

rodin-franck

Both César Franck and Auguste Rodin belonged to the Symbolist movement of the late 19th century, with its sacred ideal and interest in phenomena of metamorphosis.

They also shared the same mythical view of woman and the same sensuality, with its consequent risk of damnation. Both are highly representative figures of their period, although they seldom made use of an aesthetic that verged on the modern.

This according to “Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) et César Franck  (1822–1890): Essai d’une étude comparée” by François Sabatier, an essay included in César Franck et son temps (Revue belge de musicologie/Belgisch tijdschrift voor muziekwetenschap XLV [1991] pp. 77–84).

While there is only circumstantial evidence that Franck and Rodin met, upon the former’s death the latter was commissioned to produce the commemorative medallion shown above.

Today is Franck’s 190th birthday! Below, Renée Fleming sings the “Panis angelicus” from Franck’s Messe à trois voix, op. 12.

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Filed under Curiosities, Iconography, Romantic era, Visual art

The first Bach monument

On 23 April 1843 Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy made a ceremonial presentation of a monument to Bach in the courtyard of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, where Bach served as cantor and where his remains now lie.

Mendelssohn Bartholdy worked tirelessly to make the monument a reality. He offered suggestions about its details, gave concerts to raise the necessary funds, and handled much of the project’s organization. His many letters provide information about his commitment to it.

Now known as the Altes Bach-Denkmal, it may be the only example of a monument built by a composer to honor another.

This according to Ein Denkstein für den alten Prachtkerl: Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy und das alte Bach-Denkmal in Leipzig by Peter Wollny (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2004). Above, a woodcut depiction from around 1850.

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Filed under Architecture, Baroque era, Iconography, Reception

Indian stamps redux

The music philatelist S. Sankaranarayanan has produced monthly articles for the magazine Sruti almost without a break since April 2004.

Each article covers the issuance of a stamp (or group of stamps) by the Indian Department of Posts and includes a philatelic report along with a first day cover and background information on the stamp’s subject—these have included exponents of the Karnatak and Hindustani traditions as well as Indian folk musicians, dancers, musicologists, and patrons of the arts.

Above, a first day cover of a 1961 stamp honoring the Karnatak composer Tyāgarāja (1767–1847); Sankaranarayanan’s article about this stamp appeared in Sruti 269 (February 2007), pp. 40–41.

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Astérix and instruments

 

Astérix le Gaulois, a series of comics written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo between 1960 and 1999, received much acclaim for the attention to detail in Uderzo’s drawings of ancient civilizations.

Particularly interesting to an organologist are the illustrations of instruments—including carnyx, buccina, lur, bagpipe, harp, lyre, pipes, and drums—used by ancient Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, and Gauls.

In the free online resource Musical instruments of antiquity as illustrated in “The adventures of Asterix the Gaul” Daniel A Russell compares Uderzo’s illustrations to photographs of period instruments and comments on their acoustic qualities, performance techniques, and the roles they played in their respective societies, both in real history and as experienced by Astérix and his friends.

Above, Uderzo’s depiction of a banquet accompanied by a kithara, a double tibia, and a frame drum (click to enlarge).

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Filed under Antiquity, Humor, Iconography, Instruments, Resources, Visual art

Schubert deltiography

Schubert deltiography, a database produced by The Schubert Institute as part of its Schubert ographies website, is an open-access online resource for postcards bearing images relevant to Schubert—portraits, buildings, and so on. In addition to reproductions of both sides of the cards, entries include detailed annotations for deltiologists and other interested parties.

Above, a postcard depicting Schubert playing the “trout” quintet (piano quintet in A Major, D. 667) with Mozart, Haydn, Bach, and Gluck in Heaven (click to enlarge). The audience includes Beethoven and Wagner; leave a comment if you can identify others!

Below, a terrestrial performance of the work’s first movement by members of the Amadeus Quartet with Clifford Curzon.

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Banknotes redux

SPIN: Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms, a free online resource dedicated to the study of the Romantic period in Western culture, includes a database devoted to iconography on banknotes, with a special section for composers. As of this writing 33 portraits of composers on banknotes are documented therein, all with full-color reproductions and many with annotations as well.

Above, Clara Schumann on a German 100-mark note issued in 1989. Below, Antonín Dvořák assissts with instructions for banknote origami.

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Porträtsammlung Friedrich Nicolas Manskopf

Porträtsammlung Friedrich Nicolas Manskopf  is a free online resource that presents portraits drawn from the collection of the Frankfurt wine dealer Friedrich Nicolas Manskopf (1869–1928) of composers, instrumentalists, singers, actors, directors, playwrights, and dancers, along with stage scene stills, views of buildings, and allegorical pictures of music and stage situations.

Comprising about 12,500 photographs from 1860 to 1944 and 4900 printed graphics from about 1550 to 1920, the collection is indexed by person, ensemble, or building; by persons involved as photographers, engravers, or lithographers; and by the publishing years of photos and prints.

A general search field enables the search of professions, roles, playwrights, titles, years, and technique of the portraits; a combined search is possible using the Bibliotheksportal at the hosting institution, the Universität Frankfurt am Main. Higher-resolution copies of the images may be ordered for a fee.

Above, a publicity photograph from the collection of the the legendary trio of Alfred Cortot, Jacques Thibaud, and Pablo Casals; below, the trio plays the first movement of Schubert’s piano trio in B flat, op. 99, D.898, in 1926.

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Bach’s countenance

In 2008 scholars at the Centre for Forensic and Medical Art at the University of Dundee used forensic techniques to produce a reconstruction of Bach’s face on the basis of his skull.

According to its author, Markus von Hänsel-Hohenhausen, Vom Sichtbaren zur Wirklichkeit: Das wahre Antlitz Johann Sebastian Bachs (Frankfurt am Main: Frankfurter Verlagsgruppe, 2009) raises fundamental questions relating to image theory, considering the power of the image, the possibility of accessing reality through subjectivity (that is, the objectivity that arises from a dual subjectivity), the rendering of real “presence” by means of technically accurate representation, and the physicality (and noticeable absence of spirit) that results from the application of technical methods alone, e.g., in the case of Andy Warhol’s work.

Beginning with reflections on the royal portrait, Christian ritual, and Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns, the book then delivers a clear statement about the significance of portraits of Bach, at the same time offering therein an answer to the question: Does a person really have a true countenance?

Above, the reconstruction with the 1746 portrait by Elias Gottlob Haußmann, the only portrait Bach is known to have sat for.

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Filed under Baroque era, Curiosities, Iconography

Performing Arts in America 1875–1923

Performing Arts in America 1875–1923, a website of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, captures a glimpse of the beginning of the modern age, when a combination of technological advances and societal freedoms led the way to a new world where—among other things—entertainment for the masses became a thriving industry. The upbeat mood of America was reflected in its theater, its popular songs, the craze for ballroom dancing, and above all in the newest of popular fads, the motion pictures. At the same time, America was forging its own classical culture worthy of competing with its European forebears.

This searchable database presents some 16,000 archival visual and audio materials from the library’s holdings, including sheet music, newspaper clippings, photographs of theater and dance performances, and publicity posters.

Above, Ruth St. Denis in Incense, 1908.

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Dance, Reception, Resources