Throughout history, music has been woven into the fabric of life. From cave drawings to avant-garde art, we encounter visualizations of music. From every corner of the globe, music and art are intertwined: every culture depicts music in art. Today, as in the past, music may be the center of our attention when attending concerts; music may accompany our entertainment at the ballet, theater, or a religious ceremony; music may provide background to our life as we work or play; at almost any moment in a day, music is present.
Music is also woven into the fabric of all art forms. Musicians are the subject of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, murals, book illustrations, and all two-dimensional art. Musicians are portrayed in sculpture, frescoes, carvings, pottery, etchings, and all three-dimensional art. Musical instruments are represented in all forms of art and beautifully scripted scores are a form of visual and aural art. Those who dance, act, and speak are accompanied by music.
Music has been important throughout history and music pervades contemporary life. The artwork portrayed in my image groups provides visualization of this concept—with images, the connections between music and art come alive, leaving any written explanation pale in comparison. Instructors in the humanities can use these image groups to trace the singular development of music or the interdependence of music and other art forms. History teachers will use this tool to correlate historical events with the arts. Art and music instructors will use these images when defining "baroque" or "classical" in each of these disciplines, facilitating students' conceptualization of the parallel eras in visual and aural art forms.
In my music bibliography class, I devote significant time to musical iconography. The Research Center for Music Iconography website (http://rcmi.gc.cuny.edu/) provides this explanation: "Before musical events were photographically documented, artworks were the only source of … representations of various events, and therefore crucial in assisting us with information about music history, such as:
The image groups provide examples for every category listed. Previously, iconography books were the best source for images, but using ARTstor is far superior. The professor creates slideshows relating to a given subject. These can be shared in class or assigned for access outside of class. Image quality is consistently superior to any printed image and the documentation is thorough. These images groups do not pretend to offer a comprehensive set of examples; they offer a glimpse of the possibilities for music and art found in ARTstor.
Image caption: Helladic | Musician playing the harp, 2000 BCE | National Archaeological Museum (Greece) | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.